In 1984, at a time when South Africa was beginning to feel the consequences of international isolation and sanctions, and when the tourism and hospitality industries faced bankruptcy and failure, Protea Hotels was launched – without a cent of capital and with just four hotels. Under the leadership of Arthur Gillis, the Protea Hotels Group grew from the initial four hotels to over 130 hotels operating in seven African countries, and is today the largest and leading hotel operating company in Africa.
Arthur is currently the CEO of Platinum Hospitality Holdings, a leading hotel asset management company with approximately 15 hotels in South Africa.
He has been extremely active in all facets of the hospitality industry and has received many industry awards. He was recognised by a highly esteemed business community, having received the ABSA Jewish Achiever of the Year Award for non-list companies in 2008.
Where do you think your ‘MAGIC’ comes from? | Insatiable curiosity.
What do you think is often the difference between people who are good at what they do and people who are great at what they do? | Persistence and getting up again when knocked down.
What are the principles and values that you believe are important to live by? | Respect for human dignity.
What is your biggest weakness? | A belief that everyone around me is honest.
What are the most important lessons you have learnt so far, in your career or life journey? This could be anything from very simple small lessons to much larger bigger lessons. | To remove myself from toxic relationships as soon as possible.
What is the best advice you have ever received? | Narrow your business focus and pursue it relentlessly.
Who inspires you and who are your role-models? | My wife Lauren who sees only good in people and works tirelessly for those who don’t have opportunities.