24 March 2014

SAACI appoints new general manager

The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) has appointed Adriaan Liebetrau as its new general manager, with effect from May 2014.

Adriaan Liebetrau is SAACI's new GM Adriaan Liebetrau is SAACI's new GM

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 time to merge the plans and focus on the sustainability and growth of the association. –  Adriaan Liebetrau, SAACI’s new GM

Liebetrau is a former SAACI national board member and former chairperson of the association’s Conferences and Events (C&E) Forum.

SAACI national chairperson Zelda Coetzee says the SAACI is very pleased to have appointed someone with such extensive industry experience and intimate knowledge of the association, its role and strategic plan.

‘We look forward to working with him to grow SAACI and the business events industry in southern Africa,’ said Coetzee.

SAACI received 19 applications for the position and Liebetrau was chosen from a shortlist of four candidates.

Liebetrau started working in the conference and events industry as a part-time worker while still at secondary school, before studying hospitality management at the University of Johannesburg. He has also completed a number of industry leadership and professional development diplomas and has extensive hospitality industry experience, most notably with Protea Hotels and Peermont Hotels, Casinos and Resorts.

In 2010, Liebetrau joined Travel with Flair as its C&E team leader, and was later promoted to C&E operations manager. He was responsible for managing seven offices and overseeing thousands of conferences and events a year.

Liebetrau says he sees his appointment as an opportunity to play a significant role within the conference industry.

‘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 time to merge the plans and focus on the sustainability and growth of the association,' he said.

He called on members to attend the SAACI annual congress, at which the association’s vision will be shared in more detail. SAACI’s annual congress and exhibition takes place from 17 to 19 August 2014 in St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal.