Leadership Spotlight: Richard Rushton, Group MD of Distell Group Ltd

Tell us about your company and your role?

I am the Group Managing Director of Distell Group Ltd

What, in your view, is the best thing about running a business in Cape Town?

The number of talented and well educated people we have in the Western Cape. And of course the beautiful location that we live in. It’s not called the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ for nothing! Contrary to popular belief, I’ve also found the business community and my colleagues at work to be open to newcomers and to change. Great food and wine coupled with Ecotourism all make this one of the best places to live and work on the planet!

What areas do you think need to be improved to enhance the business environment in Cape Town?

I think our single biggest challenge is to ensure that we are more integrated and representative of the broader South African society. Poverty and integration are still weighty challenges and responsibilities that we must tackle with determination, discipline and optimism. We also have to play our role in creating jobs and growing core parts of the agricultural and tourism sectors in a sustainable way.

Accelerate Cape Town is committed to developing a long-term vision and future strategy for the region, and Vision 2030 described the business vision for the region in 2009. What would you say are currently the most important parts of “Vision 2030” for the city and region?

We all share a strong desire to see the Western Cape flourish as a tourist, conferencing and business destination. With that comes the responsibility to ensure that our city offers world class business and tourism facilities, a relatively crime free environment and sustainable private sector employment opportunities. With regard to improvements, I believe that we must address the challenges of poverty and crime in some parts of the Cape. We have extremely sound infrastructure in the main and particularly in the city. However, as is the case for much of our country, electrification, roads, sanitation and education in our less advantaged communities need improvement.

For how long have you lived in Cape Town?

My Dad grew up in the Western Cape and I spent a part of my early life growing up in Cape Town. For more than a decade, I’ve owned property in the Gordon’s Bay and Somerset West areas and after more than 15 years working abroad with my family, we finally returned home just under a year ago.

What is your favourite place to visit in Cape Town?

Being part of the wine industry, I love visiting some our wine estates over the weekends for lunch. But nothing beats taking a run or a taking pleasant walk in the tranquility of the Helderberg Mountains!

How would you describe your ideal Saturday afternoon in the city?

An ideal Saturday afternoon in the city for us as a family is exploring the charming streets (and outlets) in Bo-Kaap. I have to admit also that my wife loves browsing and shopping on the Waterfront!

What would you choose as a tag line for Cape Town (as a business city)?

‘Welcome to Cape Town, Place of Good Hope, Progress and Prosperity!’

Whom do you most admire in the business world?

I have a great regard for Ram Charan more for his philosophy on the importance of good people practices and their importance in the sustained success of any enterprise.

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