Kerzner steps down as CEO

Sol Kerzner
Sol Kerzner

On Thursday Sol Kerzner, longtime CEO of Kerzner International Holdings Ltd, Paradise Island, Bahamas, stepped down to be replaced by Alan Leibman.

Kerzner will remain as chairman of the company. Leibman, an executive that has worked for Kerzner for 17 years, will take over the reins at as the company transitions from an owner and operator business model to third party management as the company has struggled with cash flow issues as a result of the global economic downturn’s effect on tourism.  Kerzner became a private company in 2006 following a US$3.8 billion buyout by the Kerzner family and private equity groups.

“This was expected in South Africa due to the enormous financial challenges his company finds itself in,” said Joop Demes, CEO of Pam Golding Hospitality, Cape Town, South Africa. “His company will need an entirely different approach in the future, it will need to unlock capital through the sale of condominiums and will need an asset-light approach. However, ‘sharing’ ownership is not something Sol is very experienced with.”

Kerzner sold its flagship property Atlantis Paradise Island as well as two other resorts as part of a US$175 million debt restructuring deal.

Leibman’s past positions at Kerzner include chief operating officer of Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, president/managing director of the early development phase of Mazagan Beach Resort, president/managing director of Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai and most recently, regional president of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

“Over the last 17 years Alan has contributed extensively to Kerzner’s success, and his vast experience in this industry makes him an ideal CEO to lead Kerzner into the future,” said Kerzner. “As CEO, Alan will lead the executive management team and will be actively engaged in all aspects of the business. I firmly believe this new organizational structure and focus will best ensure the future success and growth of Kerzner International.”

Kerzner, 76, hails from South Africa and transformed his family’s hotel business into resort giant Kerzner International over the past five decades.