Kidnapped Novotel GM found dead in Côte d’Ivoire

Stéphane Frantz di Rippel
Stéphane Frantz di Rippel

ABIDJAN, CÔTE D’IVOIRE After two months of intense search by authorities from France and Côte d’Ivoire, the general manager of Hotel Novotel Abidjan has been found murdered.

Stéphane Frantz di Rippel was kidnapped April 4 from the hotel during armed clashes between rival political factions in the Côte d’Ivoire capital. Three hotel guests were also taken in the raid, although their fates remain unknown.

Frantz di Rippel’s body and another unidentified corpse was found in a lagoon in the city on Wednesday. Several militia were arrested last month in connection with the kidnappings.

In a statement, Accor SA expresses sadness and grief over the ordeal and says the company is committed to supporting Frantz di Rippel’s family.

 “I am deeply shaken and shocked by this revolting murder,” says Accor CEO Denis Hennequin. “My first thoughts go to our employee’s children, family and loved ones. The group will provide them with all the necessary support at this painful time. This has been a tremendous shock for all of our employees, who have constantly sent messages of support from around the world since the kidnapping.”

Frantz di Rippel was known for his professionalism, kindness and generosity. He began his career in France with Accor in 1985, eventually moving to Benin to take over as general manager of the Novotel and Ibis properties in Cotonou. He performed a stint as GM of Mercure Lomé Sarakawa, Togo, before taking over as GM of Novotel Abidjan a few months ago.