Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Robert Hall reports
"11 months to meet challenge"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jon Sopel
"New boss outlines his vision"
 real 28k

Ian Wright from Boots
"He has to give the project new leadership"
 real 28k

Monday, 7 February, 2000, 21:44 GMT
New Dome chief outlines vision

Dome Mr Gerbeau has already visited the Dome twice

The crisis-hit Millennium Dome will become "the hottest ticket in town" without drastic changes, the man called in to rescue the ailing attraction has pledged.

Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, 34, said he was relishing the challenge of taking over at the Dome, which has been beset by problems since it opened.

Body Zone queues Long queues plagued the Dome in early January
But the new supremo said it would be "a big mistake" to alter the 758m Dome's content with sweeping Disney-style changes.

Mr Gerbeau, a former vice-president of operations at Disneyland Paris, denied any involvement in the controversial departure last week of Jennie Page, whom he replaces as New Millennium Experience Company chief executive.

The former French hockey international, said: "This is one of the best attractions in Europe and the people working in it have a passion for service

"My challenge is to get people excited about the Dome and provide them with a memorable and unique experience and also to keep the sponsors happy."

But Mr Gerbeau refused to be drawn on any possible management changes.

He said he had twice visited the Dome, which was "wider and more appealing" than a Disney theme park.

Confidence in the Dome

Speaking for the first time since her dismissal, Ms Page, who was on 150,000 a year, said: "I am sure the Millennium Experience will continue and increase its already apparent success with the visiting public."

He is one of the most talented young executives I have ever met
Phillipe Bourguignon
NMEC said Ms Page would receive six months' salary in lieu of notice plus 50,000 compensation, while the company's board would consider whether she should get a performance-related bonus for her work during the last three years.

NMEC and former bosses of Mr Gerbeau denied suggestions that the Frenchman had been merely a "repair boss" at Disneyland Paris.

NMEC sources said he had had overall responsibility for the park and its operations, managing a team of up to 2,000 people in peak seasons.

And Phillipe Bourguignon, former Disneyland Paris chairman and now head of holiday company Club Mediterranee, said: "He is one of the most talented young executives I have ever met.

"He has a great track record in running a visitor attraction and is very much customer-service orientated."

This is my first day in the job and it would be very arrogant for me say that I can turn things round right away
Pierre-Yves Gerbeau
Mr Gerbeau was meeting staff and sponsors at the Dome on Monday afternoon.

Looking for improvements

NMEC chairman Bob Ayling said Mr Gerbeau would be urgently examining where improvements could be made at the Dome.

Pressure from sponsors, who have contributed 160m to the project, is reported to have been behind the dismissal of Ms Page.

Adrian Hosford, millennium director for BT, which sponsors the Dome's Talk zone, said visitors were impressed with the attraction in Greenwich, South London, but said there needed to be a guarantee of high visitor satisfaction throughout the year.

Tony Blair's official spokesman said the prime minister would want to speak to Ms Page at some point because of his admiration for the work she had done.

Labour MP John Maxton, a strong supporter of Ms Page, said the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee may want to examine the background to her dismissal, which he said was "premature".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Gerbeau: Genius or journeyman?
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Turning around the Dome
07 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
MPs consider Dome probe
02 Feb 00 |  UK
Visitors hail Dome service
02 Feb 00 |  UK
Dome v Wheel: How London's new titans square up
05 Feb 00 |  UK
Profile: New blood at the Dome
01 Feb 00 |  UK
Testing time at the Dome

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories