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The former French Olympian has undertaken more than a dozen corporate rescues and turnarounds, including, famously, the Millennium Dome. He’s since headed Britain’s largest leisure company, lectured MBA students on the experience economy, and led development of a huge new resort complex to rival his former employers at Disney. PY explains how every tier of management must be accountable and agile to improve the organisation’s prospects for growth; and with some companies still on life support, it’s up to managers to see that core values are upheld by everyone.
Serial entrepreneur, retail and leisure business guru, and turnaround expert PY Gerbeau has led organisations around the world. Famously the ‘saviour’ of the Millennium Dome, he’s turned around nine businesses, established a £600million property portfolio as X-Leisure CEO, and served as a business school professor.
After injury curtailed a promising professional sporting career, PY went into business, joining Euro Disney and rising to Vice President of the theme park. His success there led him to be appointed Chief Exec of the struggling and much-maligned Millennium Dome. After public indifference, media ridicule, and a inauspicious opening night, PY reviewed the attractions, services and staffing turning the Government-built landmark into a success pulling in over six million visitors.
After the Dome’s 12 month run, PY joined the X-Leisure group as CEO, establishing the new chain of indoor ski and entertainment venues around the country. Over a decade he built a successful portfolio of leisure destinations before negotiating their sale to the property giant Land Securities. He's since gone on to combine non-exec and Chair roles with an academic life, as well as serving as CEO of the new project, a joint venture between Paramound, ITV and the BBC, to build a new leisure resort in the south east of England to rival the parks and resorts from the likes of Disney and Universal.
In presentations PY explains how the economic and business climate requires each and every tier of management to be agile, accountable and better at balancing risk. Decisions must be firm and consistent – not based on a popularity contest. And at a time when even established brands and reputations can be destroyed in hours, managers must ensure that the organisation’s values are understood, embraced and upheld by everyone. Above all, they should lead by example.
PY has been voted Personality of the Year by his leisure industry peers, holds an MBA from one of France’s leading business schools and frequently appears in the media commenting on business and life as a voluntary French exile in London. He has also served as Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Rescue at London Business School and Imperial College.
Away from the boardroom PY is an accomplished golfer (winning the Alfred Dunhill Cup whilst running the Millennium Dome) and was Captain of the French Olympic Ice Hockey team (although he was suspended from the French Olympic Association after supporting London’s 2012 bid).
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Despite the fact that he lectures MBA students, there’s no jargon with PY. In his own disarming way, he makes it crystal clear that people are the most important asset in any organisation – so now more than ever, managers need to lead by example. This is real insight from a seasoned CEO and recovery expert. His messages will resonate with everyone. JLA Agent Sarah Weatherall
PY Gerbeau Conference Speaker
PY Discussing Corporate Agility
PY on Clear Communication