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Banking Fort Worth company gains global footprint with acquisition by French giant Sodexo

Fort Worth company gains global footprint with acquisition by French giant Sodexo

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.


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Fort Worth-based Inspirus, a company that sells software that helps employers develop incentive programs for employees, has been acquired by French facilities management and vouchers group Sodexo.

Inspirus will become part of Sodexo Benefits and Rewards USA, an operating group of the larger firm. Sodexo will keep the Inspirus name, and the Fort Worth office will become the new U.S. headquarters for Sodexo Benefits and Rewards, which was previously based in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The company will be led by Mia Mends, current CEO of Sodexo Benefits and Rewards in the United States. Pete Chambers, Inspirus’ current CEO and president, will have an advisory role.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Our acquisition of Inspirus positions Sodexo to become a global leader in employee engagement solutions,” said Mends. “As the world leader in services that enhance quality of life, expanding our market reach and capability in the dynamic recognition and employee engagement category is critical to our long-term vision. After a thoughtful and thorough evaluation of the market, it’s clear that Inspirus offers the best fit across multiple dimensions, from culture and vision to technology and services.”

Though now primarily focused on software and services, Inspirus traces its roots to 1893 in Fort Worth, when it was founded as Haltom’s Industries, then a manufacturer of jewelry, belt buckles and watches. Among the items it manufactured at the time were pins, medals and other items used for employee recognition. In the 1970s, the company changed its name to Diamond H Recognition, then to Inspirus in 2009, and the emphasis was on employee recognition and rewards programs. Chambers purchased the company in 1997 and began morphing the company’s mission.

“The company was originally making watches and other items for the railroad industry here,” said Chambers. “So that was part of our business from the beginning.”

Inspirus has 120 employees and has been “innovating its global employee engagement solutions across categories such as service anniversaries, rewards and recognition, incentives, safety, well-being, learning, and analytics,” according to the news release announcing the acquisition.

“Our mission at Inspirus is to bring joy to work,” said Chambers. “Sodexo’s acquisition of Inspirus allows the company to accelerate that mission through the immediate expansion of our global reach and capabilities, and the addition of key solutions and innovations spearheaded by Sodexo. This is an industry-changing acquisition.”

The company’s enterprise software helps companies retain employees with a reward system and employee recognition. The company has more than 350 customers ranging from Southwest Airlines to DirecTV.

“With today’s acquisition, Sodexo reinforces its position in employee engagement and recognition programs, a market that is rapidly expanding,” said Denis Machuel, Global CEO of Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, in a news release. “When we talk to global clients, it’s clear that they are looking for global programs to increase motivation and performance for their staff everywhere they operate around the world. Combining Inspirus’ industry-leading platform technology with Sodexo’s international network and 50-year commitment to improving quality of life, we become a leading player in this area, delivering best-in-class services to clients around the world.”

Chambers sees the deal as a “win-win for the company, our customers and our great city. For Sodexo to have their headquarters here in Fort Worth is just incredible and a blessing and it’s great to be a part of it.”

Inspirus’ mission to help companies retain and reward employees is mirrored by the company’s own employee-employer relationship. The company has been named to three “2016 Best Workplaces” lists since the beginning of the year, most recently by Computerworld magazine, which named the company as one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in IT.

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