Adriaan Liebetrau has been appointed general manager of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), with effect from May 2014.
SAACI national chairperson Zelda Coetzee said Mr Liebetrau’s appointment follows a thorough process to find a suitable candidate for the position.
“We received 19 applications and short-listed four candidates, who each did an extensive interview with a panel of SAACI board members,” she said. “We are very pleased to have someone with extensive industry experience and intimate knowledge of the Association, its roles and strategic plan.”
Mr Liebetrau is a former SAACI national board member and former chairperson of the Association’s Conferences and Events (C&E) Forum.
He studied hospitality management at the University of Johannesburg and completed a number of industry leadership and professional development diplomas. He started working in the conference and events industry as a part-time worker while still in secondary school and has extensive hospitality industry experience, most notably with Protea Hotels and Peermont Hotels, Casinos and Resorts.
He joined Travel with Flair in 2010 as C&E team leader and was promoted to C&E operations manager. Later, as national C&E operations manager, he managed seven offices with moret han 50 team members, overseeing 12 000 conferences and events per year with approximately 3 000 suppliers in South Africa.
“I see this as an opportunity to play a significant role within our industry at large. This is a dream job, no matter how you look at it. During my interview with the board I presented them with a possible 10-year strategy plan. Now it is to merge the plans and focus on the sustainability and growth of the association. I would like to request our members to make a concerted effort to join us at the annual congress where we will share our vision in more detail,” Mr Liebetrau said.
“We welcome him to the SAACI head office and trust he will find the environment stimulating and rewarding,” Ms Coetzee said. “We look forward to working with him to grow SAACI and the business events industry in Southern Africa.”