Gérard Pélisson, co-founder of the Accor group, died at 91

Gérard Pélisson, co-founder of the Accor group, died at 91

A visionary business leader and reference in the hotel industry in France, the co-founder of the Accor group, a world giant in the sector, Gérard Pélisson, has just died at the age of 91 “following a long illness”. his family announced to AFP on Monday.

“A graduate of the Ecole Centrale de Paris and MIT”, he co-founded Accor, “one of the world leaders in the hotel industry”, with his partner Paul Dubrule and was also the co-founder of Paul Bocuse Institute with the eponymous starred chef, the family recalled. The group and its teams “will pay tribute to him on a virtual wall collecting expressions of sympathy from all over the world”, indicated in a press release Accor, whose Gérard Pélisson had left the management in 1997 to become “co-chairman of the supervisory board, to the alongside Paul Dubrule”.

Accor’s current CEO, Sébastien Bazin, hailed Gérard Pélisson as “the very model of the entrepreneur” who, with Paul Dubrule, “reinvented the codes of the hotel industry to set it on a new course with international influence”.

“Deploy the American model of standardized hotels in France”

An engineer by training, Gérard Pélisson had left IBM “to deploy the American model of standardized hotels in France”, an “innovative approach which was to lay the foundations” for Accor, today the world’s sixth largest hotel group with 5,400 establishments under the Novotel, Ibis, Sofitel, Mercure and Pullman brands in 110 countries.

After an experience in the United States, he had met Paul Dubrule, like him an admirer of the American “success story” Holiday Inn, with standardized rooms on the outskirts of cities when, in France, the hotel business was not yet an industry. . In 1967, the duo had opened near Lille, on a former beet field close to the northern motorway, a first Novotel, then two others in two years, in Colmar and Marseille. In 1974, Bordeaux welcomed an Ibis, the embryo of the first network of budget hotels in France and then in Europe.

In the 1970s, the SIEH (Hotel Investment and Operating Company) had invested in Africa, the Middle East, South and North America, before becoming Accor in 1983. Through takeovers -Courtepaille, Mercure, Sofitel…- the duo had broken the codes, innovated, inventing “the 99-franc room” for Formula 1 cars, and rising to the ranks of the world leaders in the sector.

In 1998, Gérard Pélisson also took over, with his friend Paul Bocuse, the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality in Écully, since renamed Institut Paul Bocuse.

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