But Jeetun has had her work cut out for her since taking up this role in 2016. Her soft voice belies her steely resolve. She is geared to get results, but with grace and humility. Does she play golf? The answer is a rueful “no”. It’s the only KPI she hasn’t met yet, she says. Time is an issue, understandably. Men have questioned her knowledge of the game, her experience in managing developments and therefore her suitability for the position. “I was annoyed. I don’t need to play golf to understand the business of golf,” she says. “I had to stand firm and not fight with people. That’s my philosophy – being courteous. After a while people get the message.”
Jeetun returned to the island after 11 years in the UK and Belgium, where she consulted in private sector development and financial services, lectured at business schools and held senior management roles with global investment banks. She was deputy director of the Centre for the Development of Enterprise in Brussels, CEO of the Sugar Investment Trust and founding chair of the Mauritius Post and Cooperative Bank (now MauBank).
By 2015 she needed a change. “I was in my 50s and the perfect candidate for board directorship. Head hunters in London told me I had a golden CV, but it’s difficult to get that first directorship.” Jeetun’s husband wanted to return to Mauritius, so she began to enquire about the nonexecutive directorship market there. When she was approached for “the perfect job” managing Compagnie de Mont Choisy, she hesitated because she did not want a full-time executive role and was sceptical about her chances of success. However, she was persuaded to accept and was appointed to the board a year later.
In the three years she has been CEO, she has implemented corporate structures, grown the staff, managed the third-phase launch of Mont Choisy Le Parc (marketed by Pam Golding Properties Mauritius) and kick-started plans for a Smart City that has been approved by government. Mont Choisy Le Parc forms the residential component of the Smart City, which incorporates the Mont Choisy Mall as well as plans for a sports university. The mall will be expanded into a mixed-use development and a piazza where the Mont Choisy and Grand Baie communities can meet.
Another coup is the public private partnership that will link these neighbourhoods via a boulevard and a parkway. Jeetun says she keeps learning every day. “You need a lot of maturity and wisdom. The challenges I face are because I’m a woman leading a family company without a corporate culture through a major transformation. “But I am surviving all these complexities and able to deliver. That gets me the respect of the board. The one works with the other.”
FIVE REASONS TO INVEST IN MAURITIUS
- No. 1 place in Africa to do business; no. 32 globally
- Total wealth growth of 20% in 2017 (ranked among top five globally) and 195% over 10 years (third globally)
- Property value expected to grow by 40% in the next 10 years
- Strong GDP growth of 5.9% since 2006
- Mauritian residency with purchases over $500,000
FIVE REASONS TO LIVE IN MAURITIUS
- Desirable, idyllic lifestyle
- Beautiful clean waters make it a popular destination for waterbased activities
- International schools and a growing number of recognised tertiary institutions
- Tropical climate with year-round sun
- World-class golf courses
WORDS: DEBBIE HATHWAY