Our People

Our People

From senior management to junior staff, we pride ourselves on being a hands-on, close-knit team, each person imbued with a strong sense of personal ownership. We know that efficient, knowledgeable, caring service is the finest means of ensuring long-term relationships with our customers.

We have worldwide offices and representation in China, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka and Europe.


Management Team

Jonathan Gadiah

Chief Executive Officer
It’s a privilege and an honour to have already been a part of the Tourism Industry for 19 years and I look forward to many more exciting years ahead. Starting at grass root levels, I’m grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given while working my way up the ranks to my current role as CEO. Great respect and acknowledgment to all those who guided and mentored me on this incredible journey. People are assets to any organisation and here at Thompsons Africa, we are no different. I am proud to be part of a super, amazing team and relish the thought of coming to work every day. I often remind our people that they are not just admin staff in a corporate office but rather, are responsible for making other people’s dreams come true…. what an incredible responsibility and opportunity to make a lasting impression on any guest visiting our shores. Southern Africa is still viewed as an exotic destination. What a privilege that we live and work in this remarkable place! To quote Earl Nightingale ‘The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. The driving force of a career must come from the individual and people need to remember that jobs are owned by the company, but it is you that owns your career’.

Darren Shea

Chief Financial Officer
I have been part of the Thompsons Africa family for the past 13 years where I am still filled with the same excitement and enthusiasm that I felt when I walked through the door of this great company for the first time.  For me it offers a person endless opportunities to grow not only in knowledge, but as a person, where the boundaries of our roles are only defined by our own efforts and imagination.    
For me, tourism is a way of life and allows us to be part of the most memorable experiences that the world has to offer. I feel extremely privileged and grateful to be working in such a dynamic business and industry with people whose love and passion for tourism is demonstrated on an ongoing basis through the truly wonderful experiences that are created and become a reality to many.

Tracy Schaffler

General Manager: Systems, API/XML, CUSD, HR, GSO & Special Projects
Whilst at school, my favourite subjects were Science & Biology so it seemed natural to apply to study a BSC at Wits.  Majoring in Genetics & Microbiology, I was accepted and my plan was coming together!  However, towards the end of my matric year I suddenly started having doubts…..a school friend of mine was going to study Travel & Tourism and I thought that sounded like fun…..so I applied last minute, was accepted and here I am 27 years later!  

It is amazing how life works and where paths can lead you – I am so happy my path lead me to the Tourism industry as I love everyday of what I do!   I am privileged to have been with Cullinan for 21 years – the last 10 of them at Thompsons Africa, where I am General Manager of Systems, Loading & HR.  I look forward to many more years doing what I love…

Renier Friis

Procurement and Pricing Manager
From a young age I loved travelling and that is how I ended up studying Tourism Development and eventually also getting my Honours degree in the same field.  I have now worked in the industry for over 14 years and my passion has just grown over the years. To make other people’s dreams come true really drives my passion for this industry, as well as connecting with our amazing industry partners and staff at Thompsons Africa. My experience over the years has taught me that this is a people driven industry from the end consumer all the way down to the receptionist at the hotel or lodge who finally greet our guests as they arrive. Nothing gives me greater pleasure to be a part of this amazing chain and making peoples dreams a reality.

Adele Saunders

Human Resources Manager
It is amazing how our happiest moments in life seem to come when we stumble upon something while pursuing something else!  That is how I found myself following two of my greatest passions: My passion for people and for the travel and tourism industry! After completing my studies in Industrial Psychology, I was blessed with amazing career opportunities and fulfilled Human Resources roles for companies in various industries, both in-house and as consultant. When I joined Thompsons Africa I just knew that this is where I wanted to stay, and 9 years later I am proud to still call it my home. Being able to be the caretaker of Human Resources and be part of this progressive team that introduces people from all over the world to Southern Africa’s beauty, charm and adventure is priceless.

Brigitte Albert

Groups Operations Manager
After studying Travel & Tourism after school, I joined a Destination Management Company and over the many years, enjoyed wonderful opportunities in various roles within the travel and tourism field.  In 2002 I joined Thompsons Africa and today, I find myself back where my passion lies, heading up a team of dynamic individuals in our Groups Division.  Between making our guest experiences unforgettable and working closely with so many talented colleagues, I honesty can say that I could not have chosen a better career!

Ryan Thole

FIT Operations Manager
I joined Thompsons Africa 16 years ago, coming from a finance background. I accepted the job in the Reservations team only as a foot in the door with the hopes of joining the finance department. Once I joined this fast paced Reservations team, I knew I was where I wanted to be and not just working with numbers anymore. I have enjoyed making people’s dreams come true and also my own by having to travel the world and visit customers as well as experience different cultures from around the globe. Thompsons Africa has afforded me opportunities that I never thought I could achieve, both personal and career wise and I will continue to carry our flag across the globe.

Viki Haasbroek

Marketing Manager
I quite accidentally ‘fell’ into travel and tourism when I moved to Cape Town, joining a luxury lodge in their marketing department and just like that, the travel and tourism bug bit!  A few years later in Johannesburg I joined a tour operator and when I relocated back home to Durban, was very excited to join Thompsons Africa in their marketing department.  Some 14 years later, I am still here as Marketing Manager where I am the custodian of all things marketing and brand related.  It is such a privilege to be a part of a team of wonderful colleagues whose passion is to turn dream trips into dreamy experiences.

Ali Abdullah

General Manager: Cape Town
Born, raised and educated in Cape Town, and like most Capetonians, I am a relaxed and outgoing person that simply loves all of the nature and beauty that surrounds us.  I completed school in the year of our democracy of 1994, and have revelled in the opportunities that have followed. I started studying and working in computer design and networking, but found my passion in tourism in 1999 when I started as a temporary driver for Thompsons Africa, mainly doing airport transfers. A few months later I was offered a permanent position and then offered the opportunity to complete courses in Cultural guiding, Wine, Biodiversity and Service, all of which assisted in developing skills to enhance guests experiences around Southern Africa for the last 20 years. I currently lead a team of highly skilled consultants that deal with customers from all across Asia, mainly Singapore, India, China, Middle East, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines & Vietnam.  I continue to dedicated myself to ensuring that every guest experiences the enjoyment, beauty, warmth and culture of our amazing piece of Earth.