Integrating a company on the verge of filing for bankruptcy, in the tourism sector, in the middle of a period of confinement is a challenge. Franck Gervais chose to take on this challenge in January 2021, at the age of 44, by joining the Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs (PVCP) group.
After three years spent in the European general management of the Accor group, he crossed the Rubicon. “It’s a personal challenge. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, to make my mark at the head of a group, as CEO. I agreed to join PVCP, because I felt the potential for recovery and transformation of the group through its brands (Center Parcs, Pierre & Vacances, Maeva and Adagio), accessible and popular, to which I feel close. If it succeeds, it’s me. If it fails, it’s me! It will, in any case, be a real marker in my career,” argues Franck Gervais, now CEO.
In two years, things have evolved. We had to save the ship and look ahead in 5 years. The founding president, Gérard Brémond, sold his group at the start of the year to a trio of investors (Alcentra, Fidera and Atream), the Comex has been almost entirely renewed and the repositioning of Center Parcs is starting to bear fruit. Franck Gervais’ mission in this new organization is to roll out the roadmap validated by the shareholders, the plan “Reinvention 2025”.
“The program is clear: reposition itself on local tourism, move upmarket to increase customer satisfaction and improve operational performance. To do this, we must set up a very tight business management cockpit. »deciphers Franck Gervais, familiar with transformative processes.
The first returns are satisfactory. “Very dynamic, intelligent, he understands quickly. As a good, charismatic communicator, he has already changed the brand image for the better”, confides Georges Sampeur, chairman of the board of directors, responsible for ensuring the proper application of the strategy defined by the shareholders. However, and even if the group is out of debt, a huge project needs to be carried out internally linked to the restructuring of the entities (reduction of central costs, change of priorities, work habits, etc.).
“Franck has the ability to put this in place. He is close to his teams, he knows how to motivate and involve his troops in the company’s transformation project. He is appreciated internally”testifies Georges Sampeur, confidently.
The objective is set at 2 billion euros in turnover in 2025 against 1.7 billion in 2022 (+68% VS N-1). The group’s tourism activity is already up 19% in the first quarter of 2022/2023.
Visionary and accessible
Franck Gervais has already been in the field for two years. The managerial qualities and abilities of this polytechnic engineer are put to the test.
“It’s an iron fist in a velvet glove. Benevolent, respectful, he is accessible and listens to colleagues”reassures Olivier Garaïalde, CEO of Center Parcs Europe. And as in all things bad is good, the Covid has definitively validated with customers (back after multiple confinements), the group’s new reason for being, focused on experiential and ecology.
“I had a feeling that this new brand promise would have a future”, specifies the manager. In addition to the actions taken to improve the customer experience, visitor satisfaction becomes a priority. For this digital expert, former CEO of Voyages-sncf.com, modernizing the customer journey online and on sites is the key to winning back customer loyalty.
Also, the group recorded an increase in its customer satisfaction rate of 15 points in 2022 and the flagship brands attracted 50% of new customers during the summer season. Could Franck Gervais be on the verge of winning his bet?
His journey :
Franck Gervais, 47, is a graduate of the École Polytechnique and the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées.
- 2011: CEO of Thalys
- 2014: CEO of Voyages-SNCF.com
- 2017: DG Europe of the Accor group
- 2021: CEO of the Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs group