SBM in his genes
By Milena Radoman
Stéphane Valeri souhaite valoriser le patrimoine de la SBM. Pourquoi ne pas imaginer une série sur l’histoire de cette société et de ses fondateurs François et Marie Blanc, « dignes de scénario de cinéma » ?
Détentrice du privilège des jeux en Principauté de Monaco, la Sociégé des Bains de Mer exploite le Casino de Monte-Carlo. Ici, la Salle Europe.
Stéphane Valeri will remember 2023 as a special vintage, a symbol of new life.
This year has brought his appointment as
CEO of Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer.
Taking this position at the flagship of the Monegasque economy – it employs nearly 5,000 people in high season – obviously
means a huge amount to this local man.
For all the Valeris, working “in this grand house” is a family tradition. “In 1913, my great-grandfather, who was a casino employee, received a medal to mark the SBM’s 50th anniversary”, says the leader who, freshly graduated from the European School of Business, also cut his teeth there in sales and promotion-advertising before setting up his own business. In 1988 at the age of 25,
this go-getter founded the communication group Promocom, which organises many events, such as the Monaco International Fair.
After joining the AJM (Monaco young people’s organisation) – of which Prince Albert was then honorary president – this public affairs enthusiast and fervent admirer of Winston Churchill began a career in politics.
The youngest elected member of the national council then became the youngest president of the assembly in 2003. While in that role, he regularly rubbed shoulders with French parliamentarians and mayors. Re-elected in 2008, the political animal left the national council when the prince appointed him to
the government as Adviser and Minister of Social Affairs and Health. In that position
he demonstrated his qualities as a hard worker and promoted some impressive talents. Applying Rockfeller’s intelligence: “Here lies a man who was wise enough to bring into his service men who knew more than he.” He felt the draw of the polls again in 2017, and success came knocking once more. Stéphane Valeri was re-elected president of the national council in 2018. After managing the difficulties caused by the Covid epidemic, he resigned at the end of 2022 to join the thriving SBM. “He will apply the management methods he has experienced in his previous roles, such as listening, asking for input, the importance of people, strategic thinking and the ability to encourage people to work as a team”, explains his closest adviser, David Wigno, who has known this 61-year-old boss since he started Promocom.
His faithful assistant and wing-woman
Isabelle Contenseau joins him on this new adventure, as well as his former chief of staff Virginie Cotta, who is now number three at SBM. Since taking office, Valeri has been extremely busy: setting up a new executive committee – working with a former employee of Pepsi, Davidoff and Novartis, Albert Manzone –, sharing his ambitions with his employees, and so on. The chairman has already met the powerful Bernard Arnault – LVMH is a shareholder of SBM – to talk synergies. He is in the process of negotiating “the acquisition of a hotel in a prestigious resort in the Alps”, envisages creating a casino in Japan or the United Arab Emirates (in a joint venture with Chinese shareholder, Galaxy) but above all, he intends
to draw focus to the heritage of the place.
“We have inherited 160 years of history.
The Société des Bains de Mer is synonymous with luxury, glamour and enjoyment, it’s the Las Vegas of the 19th century, with the greatest dancers and the greatest architects. We need to nurture this legend and become the finest resort in the world.”