While all descriptions are appropriate, none of them quite capture the full measure of Gordon "Butch" Stewart, founder and chairman of Sandals and Beaches Resorts.
How could a simple phrase define a man who today controls what analyst's estimate to be a billion dollar, privately-owned Jamaican-based empire that includes over 18 Caribbean resorts, the Appliance Traders Ltd., and The Jamaica Observer newspaper.
All told, Butch Stewart spearheads two-dozen diverse companies that are collectively Jamaica's largest private sector group, the country's biggest foreign exchange earner, and its largest non-government employer (UniqueVillasOfJamaica.com: 8/24/09).
Mr. Stewart began his career at the Dutch-owned Curacao Trading Company, where he earned enough in five years as a sales manager to open his own air-conditioner service and distribution business in 1968.
With £5,000 he established Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) in a building leased from Pat and Peter Rousseau's Key Homes at Caledonia Avenue, Cross Roads, refurbished it and set a blistering path, with Fedders air-conditioning units as its trump card.
That company, Appliance Traders Ltd., expanded rapidly and now sells a wide assortment of household and commercial appliances and supplies.
But Stewart was just getting started.
In 1981, he bought the Montego Bay property that launched his wildly successful couples-only Sandals Resorts chain.
And today, he oversees a billion-dollar, 9,000-employee empire that includes 12 Sandals Resorts, six other high-end Caribbean vacation properties, Appliance Traders and a leading Jamaican daily newspaper.
All together, he owns and operates two dozen companies that collectively constitute his country’s largest private-sector group, biggest foreign-exchange earner and largest non government employer. (BJTonline.com: 8/24/09)
Mr. Stewart was a recipient of Caribbean World Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Jamaica, and has been called one of Jamaica's most-admired businessmen.
According to the Observer's Desmond Allen:
"The story of the Hon Gordon Arthur Cyril 'Butch' Stewart, O J belongs in the best-seller category of the world's bookstores. In the end, dear reader, the question is how will future men speak his name?
What will he
be most remembered for? How would Jamaica have fared without him?
Whatever else they will say, we know that they will hail Butch Stewart as a giant of his time and his name will live forever in the hearts of men and women." (Jamaica Observer, 11/26/2005)
And by the way, please don't forget to visit the famous Jamaicans page for more.
First Posted: 8/24/09
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The Jamaica Observer.com