Interview with – PY Gerbeau

Posted By Dewi Jones

24 July 2015 - 14:24pm

Who are you and what is your current job role?My name is PY Gerbeau and I am currently all of the following…
• CEO X-Leisure Ltd
• Chairman SNO!zone Holdings
• Chairman JLA Associates
• Chairman Precision Golf ltd
• Chairman Brand meets Brand
• Chairman PSP International
• Visiting Professor of entrepreneurship and corporate rescue at The London Business School & at the Imperial College

How did you get to this position…what was the pathway and what did you do before?I have been heading a great management team of turnaround experts; we’ve done 9 successful turnarounds in the past 20 years.

What are the challenges in this job?The first challenge was to turnaround a failed business based on a flawed concept, so both refinancing and product repositioning were key, followed by an aggressive growth strategy in order to secure our first mover advantage. The second challenge was to introduce and prove leisure to be a viable asset class and one worthy of institutional investment.

Who has influenced you the most in your career and why?I have had 2 mentors in my multi faceted career : the first one was my hockey coach, Paulin Bordeleau, who allowed me to not only fullfill my potential but more importantly prove people wrong : To move from a hopeless ice hockey player based on his “garden gnome” status into an ice hockey Olympian !!! The second is my business mentor, Philippe Bourguignon, who was my Chairman at EuroDisney, and who pretty much, taught me everything around crisis management and corporate rescue; to this day I do not take an important career decision before consulting him.

What do you do to switch off?I still captain France vets inline hockey team, and i’m a mad scratch golfer!!

Any Pearls of Wisdom or strategies for success that you would like to share?2 quotes which summarise my career ethos :
“Why are you trying so hard ?!! Because they told me i couldn’t do it !!”
“If you think you’re good, you’re dead” !!

What do you consider to be the biggest challenges facing the leisure industry at present? Uncertainty, lack of recognition as a top performing industry in a recessional environment, still being perceived as a risky investment by institutional investors and lenders, finally a lack of charismatic leaders…

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