They say the apple doesn't usually fall far from the tree. That was certainly the case with Sol Kerzner, the rough-and-tumble South African entrepreneur who built a hospitality empire topped by its Atlantis mega-resort in the Bahamas. His son, Butch, was cut from the same cloth as Sol, although with the sheen a Stanford MBA brings. Sadly, 42-year-old Butch died yesterday in a helicopter crash on the north coast of the Dominican Republic while he was scouting locations for new resorts.
While Sol is gruff and old school, Butch was polished and modern. But make no mistake: Butch was as much a hard-nosed negotiator and dealmaker as his father. Much of the company's success, including its recent move to take the firm private, is due to Butch's strong leadership.
His kind of creative and daring leadership will be missed in the hospitality industry. Our condolences go to Sol and to Butch's wife and two children.