Accor co-founder Gérard Pélisson

FRANCE — Accor co-founder, Gérard Pélisson, died on March 6 at the age of 91, surrounded by his loved ones.

In a news release, Accor said Pélisson “was an iconic pioneer who … inspired a modern approach to French hospitality at a time when it was poised for fresh ideas.”

Born in Lyon in 1932, Pélisson founded the French hotel firm in 1967. Pélisson and Paul Dubrule, who is 88, opened a Novotel in Lesquin, France, a suburb of Lille.

An astute businessman, Pélisson tenaciously pursued opportunities to expand the Group’s portfolio. For more than 40 years, he and Dubrulel exemplified drive and determination in their pursuit of excellence, achieving major milestones including: establishing ibis in 1974, purchasing Mercure in 1975, and Sofitel in 1980; leading the merger with Jacques Borel in 1982; launching Formule 1 in 1985; integrating Lenôtre in 1990 and acquiring Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et du Tourisme in 1991.

Pélisson also oversaw Accor becoming publicly listed in 1983. Pélisson and Dubrule stepped back from running the company in 1997 to take co-chairman seats on the firm’s board. Pélisson’s nephew, Gilles Pélisson, worked for Accor for 17 years, including five years as its chairman and CEO between 2006 and 2011.

Accor Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin said Pélisson “was an entrepreneur par excellence. A true revolutionary of our industry who, together with Paul Dubrule, made Accor a global force to be reckoned with.”

Pélisson once said, “What matters most to [Dubrule and I] is that Accor should endure. Accor isn’t a holding enterprise, it’s a company, which must have a spirit and must last for several decades.”

To honor Gérard’s legacy, Accor teams from around the world will be paying tribute by using a virtual commemoration wall.


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