France: Gérard Pélisson, the co-founder of Accor, has died aged 91, after a long illness.
Pélisson turned the group into the world’s sixth largest hotel chain, with his business partner Paul Dubrule. Accor currently has 5,400 hotels in 100 countries under 45 different brands. The group has a pipeline of 1,247 hotels and approximately 216,000 rooms. Its market capitalization is approximately $8.9 billion.
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.”
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. With courage and determination, they fearlessly challenged conventions, reinvented hospitality and forever altered the industry’s trajectory, making a global impact.”
Throughout Pélisson’s career, he established the Ibis brand in 1974 and acquired the Mercure and Sofitel brands in 1975 and 1980, respectively. In 1991, Accor bought Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et du Tourisme, the operator of the Orient-Express train line. Accor plans to soon relaunch the train service soon.
He 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.”
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.