C-Suite Advisory

HDenis Hennequin will replace Gilles Pelisson as Chairman and chief executive officer at Accor SA

French hotels company, Accor SA, Europe’s largest hotelier will replace Gilles Pelisson as chief executive officer after the current CEO had differences with the board, Europe head Denis Hennequin as new CEO.

Board of Directors meeting on November 2, 2010, the Board and Gilles Pélisson, Chairman & CEO of Accor, recognized the strategic divergences between them, leading them to organize the departure of Gilles Pélisson as of 15 January 2011.

Over the past 5 years at the helm of Accor, the company behind the Motel6 budget chain in the U.S., Sofitel luxury hotels and the Novotel brand, Pelisson has restructured the company, selling off non-core assets and hotels properties, replacing them with long-term leases, and separating the highly cash-generative vouchers business into a separately listed company, Edenred (EDEN.FR).

Philippe Citerne, Vice-Chairman of Accor’s Board of Directors, said: “The Board is unanimous in thanking Gilles Pélisson for his crucial contribution to Accor’s development. Over the last five years at the head of the Group, Gilles has successfully led every stage in the Group’s transformation, and in this way has made an enormous contribution to strengthening Accor’s position as a world leader and improving the Group’s financial performance against a backdrop of economic recovery”.

Gilles Pélisson said: “I am proud that Accor, now refocused and in the best of health, can take full advantage of the economic recovery. I have every confidence in the successful development of Accor and Edenred. I would like to thank most sincerely the women and men all over the world who worked with me on this vital transformation that has given the Group a strong base on which to build its future.”

Denis Hennequin, 52, has been a director of Accor since May 2009. He started his career with McDonald’s in 1984. After occupying different operational positions in France, he was appointed Chairman & CEO of McDonald’s Europe in 2005.

In this capacity, he notably played a key role in the chain’s development in Europe by implementing a strategy based on development of franchising and a policy of profitable, dynamic and ambitious growth. He also made a large contribution to redefining the McDonald’s restaurant concept on the global scale and was responsible for setting up effective management of the Group’s cost base.

Over his 26 years with McDonald’s, he has proved his credentials as a visionary and manager and made Europe one of the largest contributors to the Group’s results. Today, McDonald’s Europe represents approximately 20% of the Group’s total restaurant base and generates almost 40% of its total operating profit.

Accor earlier this month increased its profit target for the year after third quarter sales showed improved business in its more expensive hotels in Europe. Along with other hotel groups that were hit hard by the crisis, the company is starting to see an uptick in business. Visibility remains low for the industry, however, as clients wait until the last minute to make reservations, and Accor’s optimism for the end of the year thus far does not extend into next year.

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Jessica Todd Swift
Jessica Todd Swift is the deputy managing editor of the CEOWORLD magazine. She is a veteran business and tech blogger, journalist, and analyst. Jessica is responsible for overseeing newsroom assignments and publishing and providing support to the editor in chief.