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Our accomplished leaders are the driving force behind our success, vision, and values. Each individual, with their unique set of skills and extensive experience, contributes to shaping the Orion Group’s dynamic and innovative spirit. We invite you to meet our esteemed leaders.
Franz Gmeiner
CEO of Orion Group

The visionary founder of the Orion Group, and has played a vital role in shaping and growing Orion Real Estate Ltd and Orion Hotels and Resorts. With a remarkable background in accounting evidenced by his recognition as one of the top ten students in the Chartered Accountants examination in 1983, Franz’s financial expertise is unparalleled. This expertise, combined with his leadership prowess, has driven the Orion Group to evolve into a multifaceted and thriving enterprise. Since the establishment of Orion Real Estate Lrd in 1991 under his direction, the company has witnessed tremendous growth. His entrepreneurial spirit and forward-thinking approach have been fundamental in expanding the Orion Hotels division, which now boasts a portfolio  of six prestigious hotels.

Dr. Antoinette De Villiers
CEO Orion Hotels & Resorts

Dr. Antoinette De Villiers completed her  B. Cur Degree and thereafter her Master’s Degree, as well as her PhD  at the Rand Afrikaans University, where after she lectured at Potchefstroom University for a number of years, continuing her journey then lecturing as Professor at The Rand Afrikaans university for a number of years, producing Many articles and Textbooks. In 2003, she Joined the Orion Group as HR director and was part of the journey in achieving TOP Employer for 6 years where coaching played a huge role in achieving this Enormous award. She and her Partner Dr.Sandra Perkins Presented Many articles nationally and internationally on the value of team coaching within Organisations, being the first within South Africa, She also Studied Graphology for 8 years and qualified through the AAHA , being the vice president of Region 7 ( Sub Saharan Africa) for a few years. She received Business woman of the year award as runner up in 2022 and also international people of recognition award in Business. Many amounts of courses were completed to add to her vase and intense knowledge of the Psychic of people, as well as being part of the running of a business and corporates structure. She is also well trained in Strategic Management and ran Many Strategy sessions for corporate organisations and government departments. Currently, she and her partner has been running the internal Annual Strategic sessions for the Orion group. She has formal training as a business and Life coach, receiving a Masters coaching qualification through UNISA, and then a full diploma in Ontological coaching through the Newfield University in the UK. She specialises in Team coaching and has been practising this for more than 20 years. She Became the CEO of the Hotel Division on the 01st July 2020 and has been looking after the properties with an eye of detail, mastering many refurb projects, as well as innovative ideas, carefully researching what the current trends are after the Covid 19 Epidemic hit the hospitality environment with a great shock.

Johan van Belkum
Chief Operations Officer

Johan embarked on his professional journey in the retail industry, joining the esteemed Edcon Group in 1992. Rising rapidly through the ranks, Johan’s operational acumen was evident as he took the role of General Manager for flagship operations like Southgate, Westgate, Cresta, Menlyn Park, and Eastgate, managing impressive budgets reaching up to R1bn. Venturing out to realize his ambition of being a supermarket proprietor, he transitioned in 2008, uniting his love for property with his career. At the Old Mutual Group, he provided expert consultation on the Triangle Fund portfolio, encompassing flagship properties like Gateway and Menlyn Park. As his reputation grew, prominent clients like SACRE, Growthpoint, Hyprop, Sasol Pension Fund, Retail Africa, and various private equity funds sought his insights. In 2015 he was appointed as General Manager of Eastgate Shopping Centre. Entrusted with a significant R640m upgrade and redevelopment, he ensured its successful completion by 2018.

Leon Thompson
Group Chief Financial Officer

Completing his B. Comm Acc. And B. Compy Hons CTA degrees in 1991, Leon has been a distinguished member of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants since the conclusion of his articles. His diverse experience spans senior financial and managerial roles within prestigious entities across sectors such as Mining, Engineering, FMCG, and Business Support Services. Before his association with the Orion Group, Leon’s expertise shone through in business mergers, strategic planning, restructuring, refinancing, and launching new ventures in different regions of South Africa. Steering businesses and financial departments has been an integral facet of his professional journey. 

Leon’s journey with the Orion Group commenced in early 2021, stepping into the crucial role of Financial Director/Chief Financial Officer. He plays an instrumental role in rejuvenating the financial department, integrating operational and financial systems, strategizing refinancing across business units, and tirelessly driving the Orion Group towards enduring profitability and sustainability.

Sandra Perkins
Director Bakwena Day Spa & CEO Orion Business Solutions

Sandra Perkins earned her BCur from the Rand Afrikaans University, now known as the Johannesburg University, in 1996. Following her qualification, she dedicated four years to lecturing at the university. During this period, Sandra enhanced her expertise by obtaining a Diploma and M.Phil in Labour Law. She is also the esteemed author of two books: “Firing Without Regret” and “What An Entangled Web We Weave”.

In 2003, Sandra brought her talents to Orion, initially joining the Human Resources department before pioneering the retail division. As her career flourished, she ascended to the helm of Orion Business Solutions, a division she passionately leads to this day. Under her stewardship, the division offers business and life coaching, along with a suite of internal and external business consulting services.

Presently, Sandra wears another significant hat as director of Bakwena Day Spa, a part of the spa division she ardently oversees. She channels her passion and dedication into the spa, continuously driving the business to new heights.

Portia Gericke
Group HR and IR Director

Portia Gericke graduated with a BA in Law from Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education in 1995. She embarked on her legal career at various law firms before pivoting to Human Resources, joining Central Johannesburg College (previously known as Johannesburg Technical College) in 2000. In addition to her legal and HR expertise, Portia is a certified Skills Development Facilitator.

Her enthusiasm for Industrial Relations deepened, leading her to Labournet as an IR Consultant in 2006. By 2008, she furthered her role by joining SA Consulting as a Senior IR Consultant. Over the years, Portia has cultivated a wealth of knowledge in workplace law, adeptly handling disciplinary actions, performance management, incapacity investigations, retrenchments, trade union collaborations, and litigation at the CCMA and Bargaining Councils.

In 2014, she took on the significant role as the Group Industrial Relations Manager at Orion Group, transitioning the function from an external provider to in-house. After nearly a decade with Orion, she expanded her responsibilities in 2023 to oversee the Human Resource function. With a deep passion for labour law, Portia boasts an impressive track record in litigation at both the CCMA and Bargaining Council levels.