Accor poaches top man from McDonalds

Accor chief executive Gilles Pélisson has been ousted by the board of directors following “strategic divergences”.

Mr Pélisson will be replaced by Denis Hennequin on January 15th.

Hennequin – who will be appointed as am executive director on an interim basis on December 1st - has been a director of Accor since 2009 and chief executive of McDonald’s Europe since 2005.

To ensure a “smooth handover”, Accor confirmed Pélisson would continue to act as chairman of the board of directors, in a non-executive capacity, until January 15th.

Yann Caillère will retain his position as deputy chief executive.

Commenting on the decision Accor board of directors vice president, Philippe Citerne, 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.”

Denis Hennequin

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Denis Hennequin started his career with McDonald’s in 1984, taking different operational positions in France before being appointed chief executive 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 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.

Hennequin was responsible for more than 6,800 McDonald’s restaurants in 39 European countries, which generated $9.3 billion in revenues for McDonald’s in 2009.

“Denis’ leadership made a tangible difference in our key segment of Europe,” said McDonald’s chief executive officer Jim Skinner. 

“The European team’s dedication to our Plan to Win business strategy elevated the restaurant experience for our customers.

“We wish Denis well in his new role at Accor.”