In an upbeat and forthright presentation reminiscent of his days as President of the National Council, Stéphane Valeri presented a glimpse of the future at Monaco’s flagship company, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, when he spoke to the Monaco press on Friday, May 12.

Mr Valeri took over at the helm of SBM on January 24 this year, succeeding Jean-Luc Biamonti as CEO. He thanked Mr Biamonti, in particular for his success in turning around the company’s fortunes after a number of turbulent years.

However, Mr Valeri’s leadership style is somewhat different. He spoke individually to every journalist as he arrived in the conference room at the Monte-Carlo Bay. In an almost unscripted speech, he told the assembled reporters that he was inspired by the epitaph on Rockefeller’s grave which reads: “here lies a man of average intelligence who always knew how to surround himself with people smarter than him”.

Indeed, one of Mr Valeri’s first steps was to assemble a team of formidable managers with great international experience and expertise.

Mr Valeri has considerable ambitions internationally.

The Société des Bains de Mer is much more than a company than runs casinos and hotels, Mr Valeri said. Its name will help launch its success beyond the confines of the Principality. One such project, still in the planning stage, is the acquisition of properties in nearby winter resorts.

“The SBM benefits from a great notoriety and an expertise recognised worldwide in the luxury hotel and gaming industry. However, this potential growth has never been developed to date, apart from certain financial holdings… It is now a question of providing the SBM with a team responsible for preparing its development for abroad, in a targeted manner and within the framework of a very precise strategy. In addition to the development of sources of future profits, this development will ensure the training of certain staff members in several countries and to offer international careers to company employees. The professional attractiveness of SBM will be enhanced.”

The company is studying the possibility of acquiring a hotel establishment in the Alps. “Strategically, we need to be where our customers are going, with a complementary offer to the one we have today in Monaco. It would also be the opportunity to retain our seasonal workers, summer and winter,” Mr Valeri said.

In the meantime, back home, SBM is relaunching restaurants and venues at the Monte-Carlo Beach. Additionally, the company is “in a good position” to exploit the immense potential of a completely revamped Meridien. Mr Valeri also pointed out that SBM’s ambitions don’t end there, as the company owns the beachfront between the Monte-Carlo Bay and the Monte-Carlo Beach.

The new Café de Paris SBM

In the meantime, the redeveloped Café de Paris, to open at the end of October, is already a financial success. The payments for the seven boutique concessions within the building will cancel out the costs of construction. Some contracts remain to be signed, but among the tenants will be the LVMH Group and Tag Heuer, Mr Valeri said.

As is typically the case, Mr Valeri ended on a high note: “The confidence that the Sovereign Prince has placed in me honours and obliges me. I’m on the job every day, with the passion that drives me and all the energy that you know me for. With all of our nearly 5,000 employees… we are going to ensure that our future lives up to our brilliant past – and the bar is very high – to continue to write new pages of the legend of Monte-Carlo.”

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Main photos: Ian Brodie