It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Accor co-founder, Gérard Pélisson, who died on March 6th, 2023 at the age of 91, surrounded by his loved ones.
The Group offers its most sincere condolences to his loved ones and more particularly to his nephew, Gilles Pélisson, who has worked for Accor for 17 years, including five years leading the Group.
Gérard was an iconic pioneer who, together with co-founder Paul Dubrule, inspired a modern approach to French hospitality at a time when it was poised for fresh ideas. During Les Trente Glorieuses, France’s post-war boom, a new, more modern world emerged, changing the face of travel. Drawing inspiration from the America way of life in the 1960s, Gérard and Paul took a bold approach to bringing their vision of a French-led world class enterprise, to life.
Setting aside his engineering background and a budding career at IBM, Gérard seized an opportunity that would lay the foundation for today’s Accor. In 1967, alongside Paul, he established the very first modern, standardized hotel business model through the creation of Novotel in Lille Lesquin. The Novotel model was a truly revolutionary concept which was years ahead of its time. It offered guests a modern bedroom with en-suite bathroom and desk, a grill restaurant, swimming pool and breakfast, all for one rate. Something most hotels of the time did not provide.
An astute businessman, Gérard tenaciously pursued opportunities to expand the Group’s portfolio. For over 40 years, he and Paul 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. These actions would become the cornerstones of our Group.
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Accor, said: “Gérard Pelisson 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. With courage and determination, they fearlessly challenged conventions, reinvented hospitality, and forever altered the industry’s trajectory, making a global impact. Gérard’s legacy lives on at Accor and we will all endeavor to embrace his daring spirit, mirroring his pursuit of excellence and passion for business. His vision and heart will forever be with us!”
To honor Gérard’s legacy, Accor teams from around the world will be paying tribute to using a virtual commemoration wall.
Our thoughts are with the Pélisson family at this time.