33 Graeme Stephens
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
SKYCITY Entertainment Group
POWER SCORE: 838
POSITION LAST YEAR: 36
CLAIMS TO FAME
Former boss of South Africa’s biggest casino operator
He is less than two years into his tenure but SKYCITY boss Graeme Stephens has had to find his feet in a hurry. In 2017, one of his very first tasks after taking over from predecessor Nigel Morrison was to sign off on a development agreement with the South Australian government to undertake an AU$330 million revamp of Adelaide Casino.
That process took place in the midst of an Australia-wide VIP revenue slump brought about by the arrests of 19 Crown Resorts employees in mainland China in October 2016 for gambling promotion. Since then, SKYCITY has seen many of those high-end players return, with VIP turnover up 39.2% in FY18 to NZ$11.9 billion, including a 76% increase in turnover to NZ$7.5 billion in the six months to 30 June 2018. The company is also celebrating the sale of SKYCITY Darwin to a US group for AU$188 million in a deal that allows SKYCITY to retain rights to its Darwin VIP operations for a period of two years after the completion of the sale. Stephens, whose father once oversaw Zimbabwean retail and hospitality conglomerate Meikles Limited, hasn’t forgotten the company’s Kiwi heritage either, having flagged his desire to reposition the company’s flagship Auckland property as a genuine focal point of the city.
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