Arthur is South African and a graduate of the Johannesburg University School of Tourism & Hospitality. He was the first Alumnus of the year ever of the Hotel faculty as well as the first Alumnus of the year in any faculty. He has also studied at Cornell University in the States on several occasions completing Cornell’s first Advanced Management Programme.
In 1984, at a time when South Africa was beginning to feel the consequences of international isolation and sanctions, and when the tourism and hospitality industries faced bankruptcy and failure, Protea Hotels was launched – without a cent of capital and with just four hotels. Under the leadership of Arthur Gillis, the Protea Hotels Group grew from the initial four hotels to over 130 hotels operating in seven African countries, and is today the largest and leading hotel operating company in Africa.
On 1 April 2014 Marriott International, Inc purchased Protea Hospitality Holding’s three brands and management company. Some time ago both parties started talking about the unrealised potential in Africa. A reasonable conclusion was drawn that Protea’s alignment with a global hospitality giant such as Marriott ensures that Protea Hospitality Group can realise its full potential and that Marriott will gain a substantial footprint in sub-Saharan Africa.
Arthur is currently the CEO of Platinum Hospitality Holdings, a leading hotel asset management company with approximately 20 hotels in South Africa, and the Non-Executive Chairman, Africa Development for Marriott International.