James and Leanne Haigh have been appointed joint CEO of Tourvest East Africa, taking over the reins from Jay and Ninaa Shanghavi who remain on the board as non-executive directors. James will also be in charge of sales and marketing, and Leanne will be in charge of operations.
Tourvest East Africa, which falls within Tourvest’s Accommodation and Activities division (TAA), houses all of the group’s regional business interests, except for its retail operations. These comprise Vintage Africa, Tourvest’s Kenyan-based tour operator, ground handler and travel agent; Grumeti Expeditions; Lemala Camps including the new Lemala Kuria Hills permanent lodge in the northern Serengeti; Nile rafting company Adrift; as well as some of its managed properties including Wildwaters Lodge in Uganda and the Mara River Lodge in the Masaai Mara Game Reserve.
James has extensive tourism and travel experience, particularly in the East African region. James has had his own company called James Haigh Travel, which offered tourism consultancy services to East African countries, and was also the sales and marketing director of the Four Season’s Safari Lodge in the Serengeti National Park as well as the sales and marketing manager for Singita.
Likewise Leanne has worked for Africa Travel Co, Acacia Africa, and Treasures of Tanzania, in positions ranging from tour guide through general manager to director.
TAA chief executive Gary Elmes said Leanne and James will help add considerable value to Tourvest as the group seeks to cement its strategic position in the East African region. We’re also very pleased to have kept Jay and Ninaa on the board, which will ensure a successful handover, continuity in our operations and the retention of our institutional memory. I would like to thank Jay and Ninaa for their help in building up our operations in this strategically important region and look forward to their guidance and counsel at our board meetings, he said.