Editor: Deon, please tell us how you came to be Operations Director of Southern Sun Resorts
Deon: Eleven years ago the Southern Sun timeshare division was in a vulnerable position and in need of some direction. I was asked by the then MD, Helder Pereira, to “fix” it. After much research and learning about the timeshare industry and with great support from my colleagues, a new strategy was agreed. I was tasked to implement it. It has been a most wonderful and exciting journey with many more ups than downs and I’m proud of what my colleagues and I have achieved.
Editor: What are you memorable achievements?
Deon: The Southern Sun timeshare division today is the envy of many. With the support of Tsogo Sun, our various boards of directors, the Southern Sun team and our owners, we have achieved much;
- Owning SunSwop again and partnering with Interval International thereby securing exchanges back into Southern Sun for our owners
- Introducing corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability within our resorts and communities
- Completing a total refurbishment program for all our resorts and two hotels (including back of house areas and major plant and equipment)
- Boasting excellent occupancies, superb guest feedback, successful financial statements and benchmark balance sheets
- Implementing a comprehensive and integrated IT system across the division with Merlin
What I’m proudest of is the team I leave behind and the engaging, energising and maverick culture the division today has.
Editor: What do you think your legacy will be?
Deon: I’m not sure what my legacy will be but I hope it will be a positive and long lasting one. I’m pleased with what I’m handing over to Adam and wish him and the great team he has, all success in taking the division and our resorts to a new high. There is still much to be achieved
Editor: What plans do you have for the future?
Deon: I’m looking forward to my new personal and family priorities which include travelling with Megan and our cocoon (caravan). I enjoy my new coaching and mentoring practice and coupled with some non-executive director positions on several boards, I hope to earn some pocket money for all my trips. To me retiring is not an ending but a new beginning, with many more choices and I look forward to making them.