James is the Chairman of Knighthood Global Limited which he set up in 2017 to offer business advisory, capital-structuring and investment services in aerospace, aviation, travel and tourism and hospitality.
A veteran of the aviation industry with more than four decades of experience, James recently served as President and Chief Executive of Etihad Aviation Group, which he built into a billion-dollar enterprise, achieving the mandate from it’s shareholders, the Government of Abu Dhabi to build a world-class diversified aviation and travel group, and securing profitability for five consecutive years from 2011 to 2015.
He has also held positions as Vice Chairman and Board member at Alitalia, airberlin, Air Serbia and Jet Airways, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and a Member of the IATA Board of Governors. In 2010 he was Chairman of Aviation, Travel and Tourism Community Governors of the World Economic Forum.
In 2017, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for ‘distinguished services to the aviation transport industry, to the development of tourism and trade linkages between Australia and the Gulf states, and to international airline associations’. His strategic leadership has received global recognition and awards, including, the Executive Award from Airline Strategy, the Aviation Executive of the Year from CAPA, and the ATW Airline of the Year Award.
James is a Director of Redwoods Investment Climate Holdings, a SPAC focused on energy transition, climate technology and climate resiliency. The programme aims to drive growth in private companies from the MENA and South Asia, with a view to listing on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange.
He is also a guest lecturer for the EMBA Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Prior to this, he was President and CEO of Gulf Air, and held senior executive positions at BMI, Forte Hotels, and Hertz.