Just graduated from the Ecole centrale, GÃ©rard Pelisson left for the United States and includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the famous MIT, to which very few French have access at the time.
"I had a friend who had put him two years before me and in much speaking me." I therefore had the ambition to discover the United States. I would say that I went a little adventure, since I had no scholarship. I was already married, and it is my wife and some odd jobs that have allowed us to pay our studies. My wife was working twelve hours a day: she had children the day and was hostess at a French restaurant on the night.
A few years later, GÃ©rard Pelisson integrates IBM. His career will be a turning point after meeting, in 1963, with Paul Dubrule, his accomplice, one with which he will base Accor.
"I was young, my ambitions at IBM were large, to do nothing hide you, I could see myself becoming a Chairman of the group.". I am part of this generation who experienced the war with its limitations, and I discovered America, which was manufactured, the people who were fortune. This was not indifferent. I was probably more interested in earning money at the time that today ' today. I wanted to move forward in a company and there, it was in one of the most prestigious of the world.
I gave at the time of the course of management at the school of Lille frameworks and I met Paul Dubrule's brother-in-law. Dubrule personality seduced me: his "dedication", his enthusiasm. His projects have pleased me. Presented me a near vision that I had, my IBM as Director of market research. Looking to the United States, we thought that the same phenomenon would export home with seven or eight years of delay. Paul Dubrule had studied the Hotel Holiday Inn chain that I had I noticed when I was in the United States. It was an example, a "success story". In France, the hotel was not yet an industry. Holiday Inn was an example of rationalization. Paul Dubrule told me: "I try to do the same in France." "How can be done and can you help me"
When we started, the company was small. Dubrule was paid very poorly and me I needed from my salary at IBM to live. We have 50,000 francs each, and three years, we had to "make the quest" to raise 3 million francs, which enabled us to launch the first Novotel in Lille and, simultaneously, creating a small holding, SEIH, which began to buy land. We thus launched the second hotel in Colmar and the third in Marseille. I had a crazy life. I was working on Saturday, Sunday and evenings. From 7: 30 p.m., I was a Novotel. I wanted to accomplish something, excited by the idea and the extremely good relationship with Dubrule. We we perfectly supplement: Dubrule was well studied markets, products, he has a sense of outstanding marketing and me, I had a business card, I I took care of the business plans, financial projects, I had some credibility to go see the bankers and insurance. We two, we have managed to get our first hotel. At the time, our ambition was modest, we say that, if we came to a dozen hotels, put 20 in ten years, it would be a success!
The choice of men
Form a couple of quality is an outstanding asset. Instead of seeking external advisers, who are not as involved, we two, discussed; We did not have the same way of seeing things, but we always finished by agree us. I always managed to convince him and he always managed to convince me. If there is one area where we have avoided errors, it is in the choice of men. Dubrule saw, I saw them, and when we came both to say: "This one, is good", we were very rarely wrong. Being two allowed us to do great things: does not multiply the time by two but by three or four. He traversed the France to find land, worked with the architects, I was looking for money and I I took care of the management and then after it is mixed. These projects were created because we were in agreement.
Among the major projects of group participation decision, last June, 29 of Accor Club Med capital.
"When Jean-Marc Espalioux (current Chairman of the Board of Accor), we talked about this project, it was not new for us." With Paul, we used to lunch once a year with Gilbert Trigano, who developed the Mediterranean Club. This is twenty-five years that we are talking about the Club! We are thirty years in the tourism and recreation. The two are inseparable. I was very positive to this project. There are lot of synergies between us and Club Med.