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Published on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Adam Stewart takes over as Sandals Chairman as tributes pour in for his father 'Butch'


Gordon 'Butch' Stewart's son Adam Stewart has taken over as Chairman of Sandals Resorts International.

Adam was appointed CEO of the company built by his late father in 2007.

He was named as his father's successor today as tributes poured in for Butch Stewart following his death yesterday at the age of 79.

Jamaica's Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett expressed his 'deep sadness' at the passing of Jamaican-born Butch, who was described as 'an unstoppable force'.

"Butch was truly an icon and innovator, philanthropist and perhaps the greatest marketer tourism has ever seen," he said.

"Sandals is indeed the largest and most enduring brand created by a Caribbean entrepreneur in tourism and arguably the world today and the standard by which luxury All-Inclusive is judged.

"I hail him as a father, leader, benefactor, and the greatest tourism entrepreneur of our time. His passing is truly devastating."

Not only was Butch founder of Sandals and Beaches Resort, he was also founder and Chairman of the ATL Group of Companies and the Jamaica Observer.

"Gordon Butch Stewart has made an indelible mark," added Mr Bartlett. "He has established himself as not just the standard by which entrepreneurship can be judged, but he has established a brand that has become global and is also the strongest statement that small island states such as Jamaica can make on global scenes, irrespective of their areas of involvement.

"I think that we can look back on his life and times and draw inspiration from the success that he has had. But I think, most importantly, we can be inspired by his resilience and the fact that he has started from nowhere, and has ended up as being one of the most celebrated human beings that Jamaica has produced in the last century.

"I, on behalf of the entire Ministry of Tourism, want to pay our very deep respect and regards to him and say to his family, your gift to us is going to be what will inspire us, particularly through this difficult period of COVID-19. It is a hard moment to say good bye but it is a great moment for us to draw inspiration and to be guided to the future," said the Minister.

"He was a fierce champion and I thank God that a Butch Stewart was among us. We thank God for the legacy that he has left behind and we have to draw on that great inspiration and to build a stronger and better place for ourselves and posterity."

Governor of the US Virgin Islands Albert Bryan credited Butch with helping to build tourism into the Caribbean's major economic driver.

"We also remember that while he propelled the growth of tourism he did so in a way that increased local control to ensure its profits benefitted Caribbean people and their communities. He is carried into the arms of his Lord with our respect, affection and gratitude," he added.

The US Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte described Butch as 'our bold champion who spread across the Caribbean the message that high-end sustainable tourism can enrich our destinations and our people'.

And he revealed that Sandals had been discussing opening a resort in the US Virgin Islands. "An important attraction for me was the fact that he not only produced first-class resorts, but he also insisted on training and promoting local people to run them. That message resonates deeply, and we will all benefit from this great man's work," added Mr Boschulte.

Karl Thompson, MD of Sandals and Beaches Resorts affiliate Unique Vacations UK said he and his team were 'deeply saddened' by the news of Butch's death.

"Not only was Mr Stewart a true visionary for the travel industry but he was also like family to many of us. He had a fabulous sense of humour, was constantly there for support and always encouraged us to strive for excellence," said Karl.


By Linsey McNeill, Editor (UK)

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