James Thornton and Darrell Wade at Intrepid Group's new Melbourne HQ.

James Thornton and Darrell Wade at Intrepid Group’s new Melbourne HQ.

Long time boss of Intrepid Travel, James Thornton, has been promoted to CEO of the entire Intrepid Group, which claims to be the world’s largest adventure company carrying 300,000 pax a year.

However the real power remains with co-founders Darrell Wade and Geoff Manchester, who own the company.

Wade was previously CEO and has moved into the new role of Executive Chairman, while Manchester heads the Intrepid Foundation.

Intrepid Travel began in 1989 and grew quickly. The company’s always been ambitious and growth-centric, though in a green eco-friendly kind of way, and at one point ended up as part of the TUI travel conglomerate.

That ended a couple of years ago when Wade and Manchester bought back control of their original baby and acquired a bunch of other brands along the way including Geckos Adventures, Peregrine Adventures, Adventure Tours Australia and Urban Adventures.

It also owns 19 destination management companies.

Business has been good over the past 20 months, growing 15%.

Thornton, 35, takes over the day to day running of Intrepid Group while Wade will look at new opportunities including China and growing Intrepid’s nascent small-ship cruising product.

“The time is now right to hand over the reins for the next generation. I have every confidence that James will build on what we’ve created,” says Wade.

Starting his working life in investment management, joined Intrepid Travel twelve years ago as UK Sales & Marketing Coordinator and has steadily worked his way through the ranks.

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