Catering giant Mount Charles' new HQ pays homage to visionary founder Trevor Annon

Ministers Arlene Foster and Megan Fearon open the new £1.6m Annon House on the Ormeau Road, watched by Mount Charles managing director Cathal Geoghegan and its founder and chairman Trevor Annon
Gary McDonald Business Editor

CATERING giant Mount Charles has paid homage to its entrepreneurial founder by naming its new futuristic Belfast headquarters in his honour.

The building on the Ormeau Road, previously known as Maxol House, has undergone a £1.6 million revamp and has morphed into Annon House, recognising the contribution made by Trevor Annon.

When Annon (72), now company chairman, founded the caterer in 1988, it barely turned over a million quid.

But this year its sales will eclipse £31m, with £35m revenues predicted for 2017 and an ambitious target set for £50m turnover by 2020 (or 'The Road to Fifty' as it's already become known within the company).

These days Mount Charles - which as well as catering spans cleaning, vending, security and outside event food and beverage divisions - employs 2,000 people across Ireland and Britain, with 50 in this new head office. And total payroll should swell to 3,000 by 2020, the company believes.

“We've undergone a period of significant change both in terms of our people and this investment in our wonderful new headquarters, having simply outgrown our old base at Shaftesbury Square," said Mount Charles managing director Cathal Geoghegan.

“The spend on Annon House is not only as a suitable reflection of the dynamic and creative company that Mount Charles is, but is also a serious statement of intent both to our people and to the wider economy."

Geoghegan says he believes there remains "massive scope" for the company's continued expansion and diversification, adding: “Our vision is simple - to be both a business partner and employer of choice throughout Ireland and the UK.

"Today's launch of Annon House, together with the dynamic senior team we've assembled over the past 12 months, marks the beginning of a new era and one we're incredibly excited about.”

The 10,000 sq ft HQ was formally opened by First Minister Arlene Foster and Junior Minister Megan Fearon (who was deputising for Martin McGuinness).

Ms Foster described Mount Charles as "a huge Northern Ireland success story".

She said its strong position in a hugely competitive marketplace was indicative of how well run and innovative the business has become, and she praised the leadership and vision of Trevor Annon and Cathal Geoghegan.

Mount Charles worked with Mascott Construction to bring its five-year vision for Annon House to life, creating an open plan concept with colourful shared spaces and break-out areas with industrial touches and high-tech features that will encourage better collaboration and creativity between departments.

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