SkyCity Entertainment Group, a New Zealand and Australian casino operator, today announced the appointment of Graeme Stephens (pictured) as the company’s new CEO.

The appointment of the 53-year-old Stephens, who is an accountant by professions and currently the chief executive officer of South Africa’s Sun International (JSE: SUI), follows the unexpected resignation of Nigel Morrison in April after an eight-year tenure.

The announcement was made by SkyCity Chairman Chris Moller, who expressed his delight in securing a CEO with Stephens’ hospitality, gaming, and strategic leadership credentials and who will help guide the Auckland-based company’s new phase of development. SkyCity’s Moller said, “Graeme has extensive experience in developing and opening world-class casinos, hotels and resorts. He has deep expertise in the gaming, hospitality, and leisure industries. His record managing a diverse and fast-growing listed company, operating in a variety of locations, makes Graeme the best person to lead SkyCity as we progress the New Zealand International Convention Centre and Hobson Street hotel projects, redevelop our Adelaide Casino and plan the next stage of SkyCity’s strategy,” according to a release by Skycity.

After relocating to New Zealand with his family, Stephens is expected to start next year on May 1. Moller confirmed that until that time, John Mortensen, SkyCity’s chief operating officer who was named as the company’s interim boss, will maintain the position. Mortensen has committed to remain with SkyCity in a senior group position.

The Zimbabwe-born Stephens has been at the helm of Sun International since 2013 and has helped it to diversify into growth areas in both Latin America and South Africa, including the redevelopment of its flagship resort located near Johannesburg, and the construction of Time Square, a new casino resort near Pretoria.