Sun International CEO quits after over 3 years at the helm

Sun International’s CEO Graeme Stephens will be leaving the gaming, hospitality and entertainment group at the end of April 2017. Stephens will be succeeded as Chief Executive by Anthony Leeming the current Chief Financial Officer, who will take over with effect from 1 May 2017. Stephens will join  SKYCITY Entertainment Group (New Zealand) as CEO. SKYCITY is a casino and event centre. Stephens has been at the helm since February 2013 and with Sun International for over five years during which time he was mandated to achieve a strategic repositioning of the group.

Chairman Valli Moosa said that he was very satisfied with the progress made: “We brought Graeme on to transform the company. Operationally the business has been restructured, a new management team with deep expertise has been employed, new systems and analytics have been implemented, and a new brand and loyalty program have been rolled out. New business lines such as the insourcing of food and beverage and the VIP gaming business are now operational and the group has acquired a controlling interest in GPI Slots. The group has essentially exited its non-core African assets and focused on those in South Africa that comprise the core of its business. The flagship Sun City resort has been redeveloped and strategies are well advanced for Sibaya, Carnival City, GrandWest and Boardwalk.”

“The major focus and initiative currently underway is the construction of Time Square at Menlyn Maine and this is on track for the casino to open in early April 2017. Given the significance of this investment we take comfort from Graeme’s commitment to stay until end April to help ensure a smooth opening”.

As regards the offshore expansion into Latin America, Moosa commented that expansion of the group’s portfolio in Latam was set as a key deliverable: “The merger with Dreams has been achieved, and Sun International now has a controlling interest in the largest gaming group in Latam. The current pipeline of strategic opportunities in that region has been established, with the executive team in Latam directly responsible for implementation.”

Leeming has been with the group for 17 years, joining as group financial manager in 1999 and has held various group finance roles prior to his appointment as Chief Financial Officer in March 2013. In this capacity he has worked closely with the Chief Executive in helping to develop and implement the group strategy. The Board believes that the current strategy remains relevant and the short to medium term focus is on bedding down some of the large initiatives that have been undertaken. The appointment of the new Chief Financial Officer will be announced in due course.

 “Given that Anthony has been groomed to be natural succession and has been integrally involved in all aspects of the strategy he is ideally suited to succeed Graeme as the Chief Executive. He has been with the company for many years, is intimately acquainted with every detail and his skills set positions him well to achieve the objectives that lie ahead” remarked Moosa.

Said Stephens: “It’s been an extremely busy few years at the helm of a very dynamic company and I believe we have accomplished an enormous amount – sometimes against the odds. It’s been a huge team effort. I’m passionate about the company, I remain a shareholder and will be watching with more than a passing interest as Ant and the team steer the company to its full potential off the platform we created”.

Moosa observed: “Graeme has been in discussion with me for some time in relation to his future plans and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank him for the significant contribution made to repositioning the group and wish him well in his next challenge”.

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