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Milestone for A&K Group, with new president and CEO

July 31, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

In a milestone for the world’s most famous luxury and adventure travel company, Abercrombie & Kent has named Michael Wale president and chief executive of the group.

The appointment, announced by co-chairmen Geoffrey Kent and Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, takes effect from 1 October 2020.

Wale joins the luxury travel company from Kerzner International, owner of Atlantis and One & Only Resorts, where he was chief executive. Before joining Kerzner, Wale’s career spanned almost 40 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, culminating as president for Europe, Africa & Middle East, directly overseeing the operations of 250 hotels and resorts, for its ten brands, in 60 countries.

Michael Wale, new chief of Abercrombie & Kent

“With Michael, Abercrombie & Kent will start an exciting new chapter,” Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio stated.

“When guests book a holiday with us, they know we will guide them to amazing places, but the destination is a given.  What they expect from us – and what keeps them coming back – is how we go the extra mile. Michael’s extensive experience in guest services and operations will take what A&K is known for to the next level.”

Geoffrey Kent, founder of Abercrombie & Kent

Geoffrey Kent added, “Michael Wale has a remarkable track record of steering leading luxury brands towards unequalled heights.  We look forward to working with him to elevate Abercrombie & Kent’s profile and achieve even higher standards of excellence.”

Wale is currently based in Dubai and will be relocating to Monaco. He will continue his association with Kerzner International as he joins the Board of the company.

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Abercrombie & Kent at this pivotal time in the company’s history,” Wale said.  “I have travelled with A&K before and understand its distinctive approach to luxury experiential travel. I also look forward to working with Geoffrey and Manfredi, two titans of the travel industry, to build a bright future for our guests, partners and staff.”

Managing director of Abercrombie & Kent Australia, Sujata Raman

Abercrombie & Kent is the world’s leading luxury and adventure travel company. Founded by Geoffrey Kent and his parents in 1962 as the first luxury safari outfitter, A&K’s award-winning travel services now extend around the globe to more than 100 countries on all seven continents.

Kent formed a strategic partnership last year with Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, chairman of Heritage group, to jointly acquire 100% of the Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies S.A. (Abercrombie & Kent).

The union, news of which was brought to the Australian travel industry by managing director of Abercrombie & Kent Australia, Sujata Raman, brought together two visionaries in luxury travel to further develop Abercrombie & Kent as the premier brand in luxury and experiential travel.

Famed luxury travel from A&K

Kent grew up on the family farm in the Aberdare Highlands of Kenya with his parents Valerie and Colonel John Kent, and attended the then-new Duke of York School in Nairobi, which produced many of Kenya’s business and science leaders, including Richard Leakey, the famed Kenyan paleo-anthropologist, conservationist, and politician.  Kent created the first luxury tented photographic safaris in 1962 in Kenya and has built A&K into the world’s leading luxury and adventure travel company.

Geoffrey Kent is still going strong. In 2017, at the age of 74, he fathered twin babies (a boy and a girl) to his Brazilian wife, former model Otavia Kent.

Written by Peter Needham

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