Chairman and CEO
Mike Kendrick founded The Mineseeker Foundation and Mineseeker and personally recruited eminent patrons including Nelson Mandela, Queen Noor, Sir Richard Branson, and Lord Attenborough.
Mike held a number of executive positions in marketing and PR including, Managing Director and shareholder of Good Relations part of the largest PR Consultancy in the UK, which became the first company of its type to secure a public listing in 1972.
He formed a company called Lighter Than Air Ltd, essentially to commercialise the potential of hot air balloons and airships, and became well known in the UK for producing TV programmes on a local, national and international level.
In 1988 he formed the Virgin Airship and Balloon Company (VABC) which became the world’s largest aerial advertising agency, operating over seventy aircraft in more than twenty countries, for blue chip clients including Goodyear, Budweiser, Met Life, Sanyo, Blockbuster, Mazda and Orange.
The company employed in excess of 400 staff, including a team of aviation specialists. VABC was a highly technical and regulated business with the operating criteria of a commercial airline company.
He was also Project Director of all of Sir Richard Branson’s high profile world record attempts, responsible for all aspects of the projects including budgets, safety, technical assessment and media exposure.
Mike Kendrick was also a director and founder shareholder of several other Virgin Companies including Virgin Projects, Vintage Airlines, and Virgin Blockbuster. He sold this interest in 2002.
He has held a commercial pilot’s license and has held several aviation world records.
Mark Dorey is an experienced Commercial Director having held senior positions at a wide spectrum of service industry companies.
He graduated from the London School of Economics in 1985 with a BSc in Economics and Finance, and subsequently trained as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).
Mark worked as Group Financial Controller for KLP Group Plc, a quoted marketing services group, in charge of mergers and acquisitions, where he also was responsible for turning round several underperforming subsidiaries and overseeing the restructuring of the group. Following this, he joined PepsiCo as an International Accountant working in both Spain and Turkey. During this time Mark graduated with an advanced level Diploma in Spanish from the University of Salamanca.
On leaving PepsiCo he joined the Virgin Group, where he worked with Mike Kendrick for almost 10 years. Mark held a number of Directorships within Virgin’s aerial advertising and marketing services division, and was Chief Operating Officer of The Lightship Group, managing the largest fleet of commercial airships ever operated. During his time at Virgin, Mark was responsible for business strategy and planning and negotiated a number of multi million dollar service contracts with blue chip clients such as Goodyear, Sanyo and Blockbuster Entertainment. He also established businesses in Brazil and Singapore, and handled joint venture and partnership negotiations in the USA, South Africa, and Asia. Mark was a founding Director of Mineseeker and involved in negotiating the original agreements with DERA (now QinetiQ), he also held the position as Responsible Officer in respect of the Civil Aviation Authority for UK operations.
Subsequently, Mark has acted as Managing Director of a number of companies in the media, marketing and events sector, successfully handling projects both in the UK and overseas.
David is a very experienced financial accountant; a qualified Chartered Accountant and and Fellow of the Association of Certified Accountants. He has worked at Partner level within the accountancy profession for over 25 years. David was educated in Australia returning to the UK in the early 70’s. He joined Thornton Baker (now Grant Thornton) and became a Senior Manager in the Coventry office in the mid 1980’s. David joined Haines Watts (a top 20 firm of Chartered Accountants) in 1985 becoming Senior Partner of the Wolverhampton Office in 1986.
David is a senior member of the Midlands accountancy profession having been President of the Staffs, Shropshire and Wolverhampton Society of Chartered Accountants in 2010/2011.
In addition to his professional career, he has been actively involved in the not-for-profit sector acting as an adviser to a number of local Charities and is currently Chair and Treasurer of Coventry Cyrenians, a Charity for the single homeless. He has been a trustee of this Charity for over 30 years.
David brings a wealth of professioanl experience to the Mineseeker Group.
Business Development Southern Africa
Kai Von Pannier
Kai Von Pannier has been involved with Mineseeker since 2005 and heads up Business Development in Southern Africa.
Kai comes from a 23 year career with Blue Chip Information Technologies, including Hewlett-Packard, where he worked with global teams on complex and innovative software solutions, developing the HP First Global CRM solution for financial institutions. Kai then became the HP enterprise systems channel manager for the KwaZulu region. At Productivity Software (the then South African partners for Computer Associates) he was the senior project manager for a large software and consulting team migrating systems from ICL to IBM technologies.
He has vast knowledge and experience gained in the retail, manufacturing and marketing sectors and has the ability to apply the "Bigger Picture" to enable businesses to align with technology.
Specifically, Kai has been responsible for the logistics and deployment of the Mineseeker Foundation's victim assistance and humanitarian projects in Southern Africa and establishing relationships with the mine action communities in the region.
David Tait is an experienced corporate executive. Having been educated in the UK, he worked for the Thomson/Britannia group across Europe before immigrating to Toronto in 1975 to work for WardAir, a Canadian charter airline.
From there he was recruited by Sir Freddie Laker to serve as the General Manager for Laker Airways and in 1979 Tait moved with the company to Miami, as Vice President, Marketing for the fast-growing carrier's low cost trans-Atlantic service, "SkyTrain".
Following the untimely demise of Laker Airways in 1982, Tait joined AM&M, a Miami-based aviation consulting firm, and it was here that he was asked to write the initial business plan for a start-up airline, which would eventually become Virgin Atlantic Airways. In 1984, Tait moved to New York City to become the fledgling airline's first US employee reporting directly to Chairman Richard Branson. Tait built and led all the airline's North American operations including sales, marketing, operations, customer service, finance, IT and HR as Executive Director and Executive Vice President North America from 1984–2002.
On May 1, 2001 at Buckingham Palace, David's achievements were recognized when he was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of The British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for "services to British aviation in the United States".
Tait left Virgin Atlantic in 2002 and served as Chief Executive Officer for Avocet Aircraft and Spitfire Aviation Partners before returning to Canada to take the position of Senior Vice President, Customer Service, for Air Canada in Montreal. Tait formed CONSULTAIT in 2007, a firm focusing on consulting in brand-building, integrated marketing and customer service for a wide variety of international clients in both aviation and other service-related industries.