A Conversation with Paul Fox, CEO of LeTou
Today, Paul Fox celebrates a level of business success that has seen him become a well-respected member of the gambling industry. As CEO of international company LeTou, he has helped the company become a key player in the Asian market, with a future defined by further growth and expansion. Here LUXlife talks to Paul to find out more about his career, luxury mainstays and his love for the Philippines.
Starting from the top, it’s clear that Paul is one of those increasingly rare people who can call themselves, truly, ‘self-made’. Raised in the gambling industry, he carved out a career as a successful DJ before, ultimately, setting himself back on the path he was perhaps always meant to be on. From Scotland, to Guernsey, to Manila, Paul has always had a keen sense for business and a work ethos defined by graft and ‘going where the opportunities are’. Paul’s uncanny business acumen has ensured that, over the last three years, LeTou has secured itself firmly as one of the strongest gambling brands in Asia.
For now, Paul isn’t resting on his laurels, understanding that true success comes from continuous improvement, innovation, and creativity. “Business success for me doesn’t rely on one ‘thing’. It’s a combination of factors, one of which would be thinking outside of the box and trying to attack challenges from different angles. Another would be the importance of hiring the right people and building a good, solid team around me.
“Every successful organisation needs individuals that are committed to helping the company grow and that turn up for work wanting to make a difference and prove their value. There are too many people in business that are wary of making mistakes and are unwilling to put themselves in positions where they might fail, but those that are successful have the confidence to take leaps into the unknown.”
Of course, these lessons come hard earned, forged in the crucible of failure, experience and difficulty. As Paul explains, these lessons are still being learned, challenges are still being overcome, and, throughout it all, LeTou continues to evolve. “I have learned an awful lot throughout my career in business and I’m sure that I still have a great deal more to learn. One of the most important things for me is accepting that there are always ups and downs, and that failure can occur to anyone at any time. Learning from those mistakes is what shapes you and helps you to move on.
“Any business must take risks to take them to the next level, but it is about calculating those risks and fully utilising your network to ensure that they have the best possible chance of paying off.”
“ In terms of my management style, I think one of the most important things I have learned is to treat everyone as your equal and maintain the same level of respect for each individual that you encounter, whether that is in business or your personal life.”
The conversation soon moves to put LeTou under a lens. As an Asian-facing operator headquartered in the Philippines – though recently opening offices in Thailand and California – it controls a market that few have moved to capitalise on. In the years that Paul has been in charge, the company has grown from strength to strength and now looks to the West. “We are launching a new Western-facing brand called ibet which will be headquartered in Malta. As a result of its location, we are focusing on harnessing a diverse and dynamic talent pool with senior staff from across Europe, Asia and North America.
“Saying that, the focus for LeTou will always be in maintaining a strong brand in the Asian market. The LeTou name is written in Pinyin, a form of Mandarin Chinese, so only resonates to our audience in the area, and is part of our reason for developing an entirely new Western-facing brand.”
“ The Asian market tends to be a lot more lucrative in that the average stakes of players are a lot higher than in Europe or the Americas, so it is more weighted to heavy hitters and VIPs. If you can target these players well then there are sufficient revenues that can be generated very quickly.”
In driving LeTou to become the veritable tour de force it is today, Paul has spent much of the last decade in and around the Philippines. “I’ve been living in Manila for a decade now and although I love to travel around the world whenever the opportunity arises, I can’t see myself living anywhere else.”
It’s an area defined by an almost rigid dichotomy between outstanding luxury and economic development. Yet, when it comes to the latter, the nation is swiftly showing signs of improvement, especially in the tourism sector. “One of the top tier hotel chains in the world is the Aman Group. They have an island in the Philippines called Amanpulo which is where Bill Gates and his family go on summer vacations, as well as the likes of Jay Z and Beyoncé, Leonardo Di Caprio, Madonna, Brad Pitt, and Mariah Carey. The list is endless, and it is my favourite beach in the world. There is perfect white sand and it’s totally private to the outside world. It’s inaccessible by commercial flights so if you value privacy then I think that is the place to go. I tend to go around four to five times a year.
“Shangri La in Boracay is another major attraction on the main holiday island in Philippines, and again is very top tier. The beauty of being in Manila is these islands are so accessible as you are just a 45-minute flight away.”
Finally, Paul reveals one of his favourite guilty pleasures – Nobu. “Chef Nobu himself came to Manila recently and cooked dinner for me at his restaurant. Nobu is a personal favourite of mine and as well as a restaurant, there is also a Nobu Hotel and Spa which not many cities have. There’s a host of other restaurants here, as well as all of the designer brands such as Versace, Louis Vuitton and Dior.”
What are the top five luxury items that Paul can’t live without and why?
1. Fly first class and stay in five-star hotels
Given the amount of travel that I do over the course of each year, both for business and pleasure, comfort is essential to me and I tend to fly first class whenever possible. I never take the position that I am in for granted, but it is a luxury that I would find difficult to give up. Similarly, staying in five-star hotels would be another luxury that I would struggle without. For my birthday this year I stayed at the Versace Mansion in Miami, an experience that sticks out above most.
2. Goyard luggage
Continuing with the travelling theme, I’d say that my Goyard luggage is another thing that I value very highly, and I love the design of the product. I’m very fortunate to be able to travel around the world and like to pick up different items from the many cities that I visit.
I’ve already mentioned that Nobu restaurant is a favourite of mine, but it has to make my list. It’s a great chain that produces food of a consistently high standard and I make sure that I visit whenever the opportunity arises.
4. Rolex Sky-Dweller
My Rolex Sky-Dweller watch is something that I like as much for its look and design as its practicality. It’s the only dual time zone Rolex watch and allows me to keep on track of business in the Philippines when I am in different territories around the world.
5. Uber Lux
I like to ride in style wherever I go, and Uber is one of my most used apps. The accessibility and ease of the platform is something that has always appealed to me