Team up with talent

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

It takes talent, experience and a supportive team to manage a large company with local and international branches.

David Trotter, the chief executive of Sun International, is in charge of the group which has 30 hotels and casinos throughout Africa.

"I have an extensive management team with specialist skills to provide the required support, strategy, marketing and public relations functions from a hotel and resort's point of view," he said.

"This is essential, especially for a group like ours. Currently, we are working on our future plans in Angola. After analysing the market we discovered that there is a low supply of what we provide but a high demand for it. There is an increasing interest in these establishments but with such investments there are several challenges. This requires focus and having resources when doing business in countries such as Angola and Nigeria."

Trotter is a certified accountant who worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers before taking over as finance manager at Sun International Group, then rising to hold various directorships in the group.

The business requires a good educational background and plenty of work experience.

"You also need strong financial sensibility and commercial instincts. Being passionate enables you to deal with the challenges easily," he said.

His role requires various strengths.

"It is a tough environment economically. There are several internally disconcerting factors that have caused a negative impact on the business such as the xenophobic attacks. This has affected the skills flow from outsiders. There is also the skills shortage, but the industry is dynamic and helps you adjust to these issues."

To grow the brand of the hotel, an advertising campaign was recently launched with Charlize Theron as the main star.

"Our individual companies have strong brand awareness. But we have not done enough to market the Sun International 'mother brand.' We launched this concept last year in May.

"Her glamour, achievement and status as iconic movie star in South Africa was used to make the advertisement like a movie. We saw her achievements as parallel to us - being local like her. The feedback was very good," he said.