He’s been called many things: charismatic, blunt, controversial, notorious, genius, ‘South Africa’s Donald Trump,’ and more commonly, the ‘Sun King’. But despite what you might think of South Africa’s most famous billionaire and legendary hotelier, Sol Kerzner remains undoubtedly, a true business visionary. We sat down with the Sun King for a quick-fire Q&A session.
Describe your leadership style?
A leader is someone who would do whatever is necessary to ensure they’re surrounded by the best possible team. A team that can effectively communicate with personnel will get the best out of any business. People form a business. I always made a point of recognising the good work of staff. Surround yourself with the right people and understand your product.
How important is tourism for the economy?
It’s very important. Take Sun City for example. We worked closely with government at the time, as it was in both our interests. It built a town and created thousands of jobs for people from surrounding communities. The Atlantis resort in the Bahamas was the country’s biggest employer after the government.
Your biggest wish for South Africa?
My biggest wish is for political stability. Things are very uncertain at the moment. This is a country with great resources and natural beauty. Good leadership is key if you want to inspire confidence and see the country flourish.
Advice for aspiring hoteliers?
Be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way through to the top. It’s a valuable learning curve. In a business that operates 24/7, you need to be unquestionably dedicated and excited about what you do. Get the best possible experience and learn from it. It also helps to be creative if you want to stay ahead of the competition. BE A LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER.