James Batt, Managing Director of Laguna Phuket
has announced his resignation after ten years of service for Laguna Resorts & Hotels
(LRH). Mr Batt will leave Laguna Phuket in June to take up a new position with an hotel company headquartered in San Diego,
Mr Batt joined LRH in November 1995 as Executive Director and Vice-President of Laguna Operations, responsible for overseeing the operations of
all five resort hotels, namely Banyan Tree Phuket, Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket,
Resort, Laguna Beach Resort, and Allamanda Laguna Phuket, and facilities, such as, Canal Village shopping centre and the Laguna Phuket Golf Club. Shortly after joining, Mr Batt was promoted
to Joint Managing Director and more recently Managing Director - Laguna Phuket.
During Thailandís financial crisis in 1997, Mr Batt formed an alliance between the five-star hotels in Phuket and Bangkok to implement the
conversion of room rates (previously contracted in Thai Baht) into US dollars. A positive maneuver that has brought long-lasting benefits to
Thailandís hotel industry. Also during Mr Battís tenure Lagunaís Property Sales division has expanded from a peripheral business unit into one of
the companyís most profitable sectors. He also opened the Laguna Holiday Club, another business success story, however Mr Batt is most proud
of Lagunaís dedication to supporting social and welfare projects that benefit the community in which the resort operates.
Within his first year at Laguna Phuket, Mr Batt was involved in the organization of a charity gala event entitled Phuket Helping Hands which
established a benchmark for successive charity functions on the island to follow. More recently Mr Batt directed the Phuket Tsunami Recovery
Fund established by LRH following the 26 December 2004 disaster. The Fund has been actively involved with rebuilding and restoring homes,
boats, educations and livelihoods of locals affected by the tsunami disaster.
Laguna Resorts & Hotelsí Chairman, Ho Kwon Ping commented that
ďsince he joined us in 1995, James has been instrumental in turning Laguna
Phuket into a popular travel destination. He has my deepest gratitude as one of the long-serving directors of Laguna Phuket, sharing a common
vision to turn a deserted tin mine into the vibrant property that is Laguna Phuket today. We will miss his familiar presence and firm guiding hand,
but we wish James and his family all the best in this new and exciting chapter of his
Mr Batt explained, ďlong ago we made a family decision to return to the United States after 10 years in Phuket, and I received a call asking me to
consider a position in San Diego.Ē
He admitted, however, that he and his family will miss Phuket.
ďItís going to be very difficult for my family and I to leave Phuket after so many wonderful years here. A great deal has happened in those ten years,
and I can honestly say that I have never, ever, had a day when I was bored. Iím confident that Phuket will go from strength to strength as a tourist
destination, and predict that the property market will continue to grow and become the mainstay of the islandís economy.Ē
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