Pierre-Yves Gerbeau

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Pierre-Yves Gerbeau in 2014.

Pierre-Yves "the Gerbil" Gerbeau (born 16 October 1965,[1] name almost always shortened to PY or P-Y[2]) is a French businessman, based in the United Kingdom.

Early life[edit]

Gerbeau was born into an affluent Parisian family, where his parents ran an office supply company. In addition to their house in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, they also had a weekend residence in the Forest of Fontainebleau.[2]

Sports career[edit]

Gerbeau started out in 1984 as a professional ice hockey player, playing in several championships and becoming a member of the French national team,[3] before a severe ankle injury curtailed his sports career in 1989.[2][4]

On an edition of the BBC's 'The Daily Politics Show' Gerbeau revealed that he had been suspended from the French Olympic Organisation because he supported London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.[5]

Business career[edit]

He then turned to business, first with TPS Conseil, then in 1991 joined Euro Disney, rising rapidly to become Vice-President of Park Operations and Attractions in 1997. His responsibilities included ticketing, the safety and maintenance of attractions, and sorting out the queues.[4] He was credited with turning the attraction around after a difficult start.[6] He later left Disney to complete a Master of Business Administration degree at Sciences Po.[7][8]

On 5 February 2000 Gerbeau was appointed Chief Executive of the New Millennium Experience Company, the operator of the Millennium Dome in London. His appointment followed the sacking of Jennifer Page after an opening night fiasco and poor attendances in January 2000. He was brought in to turn around the fortunes of an attraction struggling in the face of major financial problems[9] and negative publicity.[10] Whilst in charge, he became well known for his enthusiastic and confident personality,[11] and was affectionately nicknamed "the Gerbil" by the British press.[2]

Following the closure of the millennium exhibition at the end of 2000, Gerbeau became Chief Executive of X-Leisure, operator of the Xscape centres and other leisure facilities.[8][12]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Kate Gerbeau (née Sanderson), a British television presenter, and has a daughter (Clémence)[13] from another relationship.[2] He also has a daughter with Kate; Chloé was born on 7 November 2008.

Appearing on the BBC's Question Time on 28 May 2009, Gerbeau declared that he would live in Britain for the rest of his life, jokingly describing France as "a communist country."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland
  2. ^ a b c d e P-Y Gerbeau: King of the Dome, BBC News Online, 31 December 2000, accessed 9 December 2006
  3. ^ PIERRE YVES (PY) GERBEAU Biography, Norman Phillips Organisation, accessed 9 December 2006
  4. ^ a b Gerbeau: Genius or journeyman?, BBC News Online, 15 February 2001, accessed 9 December 2006
  5. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00nz1pm/The_Daily_Politics_09_11_2009/
  6. ^ Head of Britain's Millennium Dome resigns, BBC News Online, 5 February 2000, accessed 9 December 2006
  7. ^ Profile: New blood at the Dome, BBC News Online, 5 February 2000, accessed 9 December 2006
  8. ^ a b PY Gerbeau biography, CitySpeakers International, accessed 9 December 2006
  9. ^ Dome 'can be on budget', BBC News Online, 11 July 2000, accessed 9 December 2006
  10. ^ Dome boss hails 'popular' attraction, BBC News Online, 30 August 2000, accessed 9 December 2006
  11. ^ High fliers head for UK boardrooms, BBC News Online, 24 January 2001, accessed 9 December 2006
  12. ^ X-Leisure: From the CEO, X-Leisure, accessed 9 December 2006
  13. ^ Cole Moreton P-Y Gerbeau: Zut alors! The Gerbil wants to be Napoleon The Independent, 2 December 2007