Mr. David Baffsky, Knight in the Order of the Legion d’Honneur [fr]
Mr. David Baffsky, Chairman of Ariadne Australia Limited and Honorary Chairman of Accor Pacific, was confered the insignia of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight in the Order of the Legion d’Honneur) by the Ambassador of France, his Excellency Mr. Stéphane Romatet, on Monday the 30th of April.
The statement below was made by the Ambassador of France at this occasion.
Today there is simple ways to know who you are dealing with: just type a name on Google. You can soon appreciate the reputation of an individual.
I devoted myself to this exercise with regard to you. The results speak for themselves: your name, dear David, is referenced on Google 5,530 times.
So we are dealing tonight with someone of importance.
I’ll try to go further in the demonstration and attempt to answer two questions:
1 – Why is David Baffsky an important man, a man of quality, the French sense of the term?
2 – But why does David Baffsky deserve to be awarded the highest French distinction, the Legion of Honor?
Your career, David, is remarkable and it is this exemplary nature I want to emphasize tonight.
I – Remarkable in your career as a great business leader.
A trained lawyer, founder of a law firm, clearly the legal profession is not completely fulfilling your thirst for action, your determination to build and develop. You really are a builder, a developer.
This taste for realization brings you very quickly, along with your duties at the head of your firm for legal advice, to lead a company specializing in property development, the Citistate Corporation development Limited.
Your first coup, your first major achievement is the development of the Darling Harbour Novotel hotel project. This is already for you a first connection with Accor.
I was told that you also played a key role in the realization of the Sydney Olympic Park, thanks to the Homebush Bay resort.
I can imagine, dear David, the pride that must have been yours to directly contribute to two major urban operations that shape the city of Sydney. I think in everybody’s life, in the trace that each of us intends to leave; there can be no greater satisfaction than to have shaped an urban space.
But that’s not enough yet. You need more. And then it will be tourism, hospitality. You spent in that sector most of your career for over 25 years. This will be the opening of the Club Méditerranée in Australia. And it will be the great success of Accor Asia Pacific which you chaired for over 15 years.
David, I already had the chance to meet with you at length a few weeks ago. With Ian Alexander, CEO of this wonderful hotel in which you receive us tonight, you told me your story, the different steps of your life. You are, by nature, modest.
But tonight, I’d like you to agree, for once, not to be too modest. Look what you’ve made of Accor: how much Accor hotel today compared to the existing number when you began your career in the Group? David, it’s very simple: you have made of Accor, that French Group holding prestigious brands, the first hospitality Group in Australia and Asia-Pacific. Don’t be shy: this is your work.
But you are not only a great business leader.
II- Remarkable in your social commitment.
It is virtually impossible to compile a complete list of all your social activities. I think it would be easier to list what you do not concern yourself with.
In this long list, I’d like to mention two points, because they are close to my heart as well:
a) Your commitment to the arts and culture. You actively support the Art Gallery of NSW and the Contemporary Art Museum whose rehabilitation is a great success. You told me you’re a big fan of French art. This is not the main reason that leads us to a decoration of the Legion of Honor, but let’s just say it isn’t harmful!
Also let me acknowledge the vital support that you gave to the National Library of NSW for the digitalization of its bibliographic funds. Books are like buildings: this is what survives us and I see your commitment in this, a new proof of your desire to leave a legacy.
b) I would also mention, among other commitments, your fight in favor of the integration of Aborigines and also refugees. You actively participate in the National Indigenous Leadership Group that you have co-chaired. You are in the Board of CARE Australia, an organization that looks after the arrival of refugees. It is rare that great business leaders give so much of their time, their energy, their money to causes as noble. All this is to your credit.
III-But what about France?
First, you know very well and you like very much to visit and discover my country. You enjoy it to such an extent that you have recently traveled to France through its canals on a barge. I’m not sure that it was a Sofitel 5 stars barge, demonstrating, if necessary, your open-mindedness to more rustic forms of tourism.
You are, as well, very passionate about rugby, as you’ve told me. But then, I’ll be frank with you, new knight of the Legion of Honor, you now have the duty to be a fanatical supporter of the French team and you have to give up your support of the Wallabies. Anyway, you should always choose the best.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is thanks to you that Accor, French group and world leader in tourism and hospitality, has been able to take such a position in Asia. This is certainly worth the Legion of Honor. But this is especially worth our gratitude and the recognition of France.
Au nom du Président de la République et en vertu des pouvoirs qui nous sont conférés, nous vous faisons Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
Last updated 07/05/2012