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 
Monday, 7 February, 2000, 14:28 GMT
Gerbeau: Genius or journeyman?

'PY' Gerbeau: Left Disney to become a student

The new boss of the Millennium Dome, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, was first touted by Dome spin doctors as the "whizz-kid" who saved Disneyland Paris.

He was then described by a sceptical press as "the mysterious Monsieur Nobody" and dismissed as a "repair boss" who fixed broken rides at the attraction.

Initially a disaster, Euro Disney has turned around
It appears the truth, as ever, lies somewhere in between.

Sources create an impression of a capable and trusted manager, but one who is more of a diligent journeyman than a dynamic business genius.

"He is a very able guy, but there is no way you could say he turned Euro Disney around," said one.

"There are maybe three or four people who could be credited with doing that, because of their position in the hierarchy. He is not one of them."

Mr Gerbeau was certainly never high-profile. Searches of press cuttings reveal no articles about him in either the French or UK press, before his appointment to the Dome.

The 34-year-old, known as PY, began his career in 1984 as a professional hockey player.

He played in European and world championships before a serious injury halted his career in 1989, and he turned to business instead.

Queuing: Gerbeau sorted them for Disney, but can he for the Dome?
His doorway was TPS Conseil in Paris, a management consultancy which specialises in creating links between sporting and business managers.

He joined Disneyland Paris in 1991, aged 25, as a management consultant and rose rapidly, being promoted five times before reaching the rank of vice-president in 1997.

Colleagues reportedly described him as a brilliant "homme de terrain", or operations man, rather than a managerial genius.

He was part of a team of six directors in charge of the technical side of the attraction, with particular responsibility for ticketing, the safety and maintenance of attractions, and sorting out the queues.

On Monday Gilles Pelisson, chairman and chief executive officer of Disneyland Paris, said Mr Gerbeau had been "top of the league" and showed "outstanding leadership and management skills".

But Mr Gerbeau himself seemed to have doubts about his business acumen.

He left Disney in 1998 to study for an MBA at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris.

Jean-Jacques Rosser, who taught Mr Gerbeau , said he had been a "very serious, dedicated student".

He would appear "really qualified" to do the job, he said. "Mr Gerbeau is a very competent manager. There's no doubt about that."

And Mr Gerbeau - married but separated, and with a three-year-old daughter - certainly seems to be skilled at public relations.

His first utterance on the Dome as he began his first day at work was to proclaim that it would become "the hottest ticket in town".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
05 Feb 00 |  UK
Profile: New blood at the Dome
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Disney man to reveal Dome vision

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