Sol Kerzner steps down from Kerzner International – Legendary hotelier Solomon ‘Sol’ Kerzner has announced his retirement as the chairman of Kerzner International Holdings. The move brings to a close one of the most dazzling careers in hospitality industry, with Kerzner top of the sector for decades.

The news came after Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) confirmed it had completed the purchase of a “significant” equity interest in the leading international Kerzner International. ICD is an investment arm of the Dubai government.

The chief executive of ICD, HE Mohammed Al Shaibani, will take on the role of chairman of the hotel operator, replacing Kerzner, while chief executive Alan Leibman will stay in position.

Kerzner, who founded the company in 1994, said: “I am exceptionally proud of all that has been accomplished at Kerzner International.

“This is a significant milestone in my life after a long and happy career in the tourism industry and I wish the company well.

“I am confident that with ICD’s guidance, the company will fulfil on its upcoming expansions towards further growth and global reach.”

With a career spanning more than 45 years, Kerzner, now 78, remains one of South Africa’s most admired entrepreneurs. He was born in Johannesburg and went on to build a hotel industry in South Africa that remains a testimony to his ability to turn grand visions into reality.

As the youngest of four children of Russian Jewish immigrants, his family started a hotel chain and, after graduating as a Chartered Accountant, Kerzner took over the running of the group and went on to create the most successful hotel group in South Africa, Sun International.

One&Only Reethi Rah

He later moved and expanded as a hotelier overseas with Kerzner International, which included the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas and the One&Only properties around the world, including Cape Town.

Kerzner International Holdings presently operates globally under the world-renowned One&Only and Atlantis brands, with international presence, significantly in Dubai with three resorts, two resorts in The Bahamas, and more in Mauritius, The Maldives, Mexico, South Africa and soon, Australia.

Kerzner arrived Maldives in 2001 and opened One&Only Kanuhura. They also built One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives in 2005 and still known as one of the top resorts in the world.

This new strategic move by ICD in the hotel and tourism sector in Dubai follows its acquisition earlier this year of Atlantis, The Palm resort. New projects under development include the new Atlantis resort in China, and four new One&Only resorts currently under development around the globe.

During his career Kerzner worked closely with his late son Butch, who shared his love of the hospitality industry until his tragic death in a helicopter accident in the Dominican Republic in 2006.

During their visit to South Africa in 2003 they announced their intention, as a company and a family, to make a sizeable donation towards the building of the new School of Tourism & Hospitality at the University of Johannesburg, which opened in 2005.

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