VICE CHAIRMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CEO
Director of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A.
POWER SCORE: 1,162
POSITION LAST YEAR: 13
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Joined Stanley Ho’s gaming and tourism business in 1976
• “Responsible for execution of the Company’s strategy and the overall management of the Company’s business,” according to SJM Holdings annual report
One of the longest serving executives still working within Macau’s gaming industry, Ambrose So spent years working side by side with Dr Stanley Ho and was a natural choice to fill the leadership hole when Ho fell ill in 2009.
Yet the recent history of SJM has been a desperate game of catch-up after SJM initially failed to recognize that Cotai would one day become the epicenter of Macau’s gaming industry. As a result, 12 years after The Venetian Macao opened its doors on the Cotai Strip, SJM has yet to welcome its first customer into the long-awaited HK$39 billion Grand Lisboa Palace.
While launch of the property is still another year away, analysts put SJM’s Macau market share in 2Q19 at 14.1%, down from 15.5% in the same period in 2018. The company also recorded a 4% year-on-year decline in GGR in the second quarter to HK$11.11 billion (US$1.42 billion).
Once Grand Lisboa Palace finally does open, SJM will need to work through their lack of expertise in the lucrative premium mass segment if they want to to claim a piece of that pie, while a January power play by Pansy Ho that has seen a group of shareholders form a majority say over SJM’s parent company STDM also raises questions about the future.
To his credit, Ambrose So – for so many years a steady and reliable figurehead at the helm – has stayed positive throughout with main construction work on Grand Lisboa Palace finally reaching completion by the end of this year.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.