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Q&A with Andy Payne, CEO of Thornybush

14 Jun 2024 | By Author Thornybush | News & Team

The Thornybush Marketing Team had the opportunity to sit down our CEO and Co-founder of Thornybush to ask him a few questions about the Thornybush legacy and what creating our group of lodges means to him. Grab a cup of tea, and enjoy this insightful interview with Andy Payne.

Tell us how you became a Co-Founder of Thornybush. 

I founded Inzalo with Richard Napier in the early 1990s. Soon thereafter, my father, Alan Payne, joined the business and ran it until he retired. After a period of other leadership, I joined the business in my current role as CEO. I have remained a shareholder in the business since its inception.

How has your family’s dynamic shaped the distinctive establishment of Thornybush lodges? 

While the family has been involved in the business for most of its operational life, I do not believe it’s a family-owned or family-run business. My father and I have been fortunate enough to spend a large part of our working careers in the organisation and have undoubtedly contributed to its current form.

What is unique about a family-run hospitality company? 

One of the special benefits of being involved in this business is being able to share my passion for the wilderness with my family. My kids have been fortunate enough to grow up in this environment and have no doubt learned an enormous amount from this experience. 

What values or traditions does your family prioritise in both business and wildlife and eco-conservation? 

Our family has always prioritised values such as integrity, respect for nature, and a commitment to conservation. These values are deeply ingrained in our approach to both business and wildlife conservation. We believe that by respecting and conserving the natural environment, we can create memorable experiences for our guests while also preserving these wilderness areas for future generations.

What are you most proud of regarding the brand and the business? 

I see the whole business as one big family, and guests feel and see this. This is one of the core reasons why we performed successfully in a competitive environment. I believe that the business has matured to an extent that it provides many opportunities for its broader community. It’s in this space that I would like to believe that the business focuses while at the same time always ensuring that we endeavour to exceed guests’ expectations.

I am proud of the positive impact that Thornybush has had on both the local community and the environment. Our brand is not just about providing luxury safari experiences; it’s about making a difference in the world by supporting conservation efforts and empowering local communities.

What would you like your children to know most about their legacy? 

I would like my children to know that Thornybush is more than just a business; it’s a legacy that we are privileged to be a part of. I hope that they will continue to uphold the values of conservation and sustainability that have been central to Thornybush’s success and that they will be inspired to make a positive impact on the world in their own way.

How do you ensure continuity and succession planning within legacy for future generations? 

We have implemented a comprehensive succession plan that involves mentoring and training the next generation of leaders within the organisation. Additionally, we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions to ensure that Thornybush remains a sustainable and successful business for many years to come.