Our Board Of Directors

Mr. Andre Viljoen –  Chairman

Appointed August 2020

Andre Viljoen, a Mauritian citizen, has 40 years of seasoned airline experience, and holds an Honour’s Degree in Accounting and Commerce and is a Chartered Accountant (SA). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAES).
He started his airline career with British Airways (Comair) in South Africa in the 1980s as Financial Manager and soon grew to the position of Group Financial and Commercial Director, which he held for more than 10 years. He played an instrumental role in elevating Comair from a small regional airline to becoming South African Airways principal domestic and regional competitor flying the British Airways brand as a British Airways franchise. He then went on in 1992 to join South African Express Airways, the largest regional airline in South Africa, as Chief Operating Officer and eventually CEO. He devised and led a turnaround program to restore the airline back to profitability and to expand its fleet from Dash 8 aircraft to include CRJ regional jets.
In 1995, he joined South African Airways, South Africa’s National Airline, firstly as Chief Financial Officer and later took over as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2000 until 2005. He implemented an aggressive transformation program known as “Perfecting the Basics” which restored the airline back to profitability by 2002. Perfecting the Basics included an aggressive fleet modernization program, which comprised of 65 new aircraft to replace an aged and costly fleet. The program took advantage of the aviation slow down caused by events of 9/11 resulting in a landmark aircraft replacement deal for the South African Airways. The transformation program also earned the airline a Skytrax 4 Star Rating, as well as many travel awards such as “The Leading Airline to Africa”.
He then went on to join the tour operator group Cullinan Holdings as Chief Executive Officer from 2006. The group is well known for its travel brands Thomson Holidays, Thomson Tours, Trafalgar, Contiki and Pentravel.
In 2009, he joined Air Mauritius, Mauritius’ National Airline, initially as Chief Financial Officer and then from 2010 as Chief Executive Officer. In 2012, he launched a successful turnaround program known as the “7 Step Recovery Plan”. The plan was focused on re-balancing the company’s network, improving revenue management and commercial, as well as re-fleeting with new generation aircraft. The plan restored the airline back to profitability resulting in a Euro 38 million rise in profitability by end of 2014. Air Mauritius followed an aggressive fleet renewal campaign, which resulted in an order for 6 Airbus A350-900 new generation aircraft to replace its aged fleet of Airbus A340-300’s. He implemented Ron Kaufman’s amazing service quality improvement program, UP Your Service (UYS), as part of the 7 Step Recovery Plan which earned Air Mauritius the Skytrax 4 Star Rating, as well as the travel award of “Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean”.
Andre officially started with Fiji Airways in October 2015 with a three-year contract which has now been extended to end of 2022. Under Andre’s leadership Fiji Airways has logged up significant achievements over the past four years.
Fiji Airways embarked on an aggressive fleet modernization and growth program to reduce operating costs, improve customer experience and grow capacity (scale), which culminated in the acquisition of 5 Boeing MAX 8 aircraft in 2017/18 and two Airbus A350-900s in December 2019. Fiji Airways today boasts one of the youngest aircraft fleet in the world. The growth in the wide-body Airbus aircraft from 3 to 6, and narrow-body to 7 Boeing 737s (5 MAX’s and 2 B737-800 NG’s) resulted in the addition of Singapore, San Francisco and Narita as new routes and 12 new codeshare agreements with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, etc, and 43 interline agreements. Fiji Airways network has accordingly increased from 69 to 108 destinations on offer with great connectivity. Passengers carried have grown progressively by more than 6 % per year to 1.6 million in 2019 and revenue earned has reached the 1 billion Fijian dollar mark. Fiji Airways was also selected by the four founding airlines of the ‘oneworld global alliance’ (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas) to be the first oneworld ‘connect partner’. Fiji Airways also implemented the Ron Kaufman Up Your Service (UYS) program and attained the Skytrax 4 Star Rating in 2019 and earned the award for Best Airline Staff to the South Pacific beating Air New Zealand and Qantas.

Mr. Wella Pillay – Board Director

Appointed December 2015

Mr. Pillay is a well-known and seasoned entrepreneur. After spending some time in New Zealand, he returned to Fiji to start up his business ventures in the Western Division. Mr. Pillay sits on FDB’s Board Credit Risk Committee which is established to review, assess and monitor the implementation of the risk policy and plan.

Prior to his migration to New Zealand, he had worked at the Bank of New Zealand’s Sigatoka branch. A golf enthusiast, Mr. Pillay also gives time to community work for TISI Global Sangam, and is a Trustee for Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation. He is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of Gecko Trucking (Fiji) Ltd, Construction Equipment Hire (Lautoka) Ltd and Wairiki Logging Ltd.

(Updated December 2018)

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Mr. Inia Naiyaga – Board Director

Appointed December 2015

Mr. Naiyaga is a Chartered Accountant, Life Member of the Fiji Institute of Accountants, Fellow of the Fiji Institute of Bankers (Hon) and was a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Directors.

He was a career Central Banker for 40 years and retired as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji in May 2014.

Prior to that, he was the Deputy Governor of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga for five years. He is the current Managing Director of Sun Insurance, Director of NFA, Member of the USP Finance and Investment Committee and Member of the Christian Mission Fellowship International Executive Board.

(Updated December 2018)

Ms. Kalpana Kushla Lal – Board Director

Appointed April 2019

Ms. Lal, a chartered accountant with the Fiji Institute of Accountants, is the Head of Finance & Administration at the German International Cooperation (GIZ) Pacific Operations and is part of the Executive Management Team of GIZ Pacific.

She has over a decade of professional experience in accounting and financial management.

Ms. Lal is a Board Director at Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL), Fiji National Provident Fund and is the Chair of FHL Fund Management Limited. She has served as an Independent Board Director on FHL subsidiary, Basic Industries Limited since November 2016 where she also served as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Ms. Lal is a CPA and  a member of CPA Australia. She is also a member of  the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Member of Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Ms. Lal holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of the South Pacific in Accounting and Financial Management and Information Systems.

She is the first female to have been awarded the Chartered Accountant of the Year by Fiji Institute of Accountants at their Annual Congress in April 2017.

(Updated August 2019)

Mr. Rajesh Patel – Board Director

Appointed December 2015

Mr. Patel is the Director for R.C. Manubhai Group of Companies and for Nando’s Fiji. He chairs the FDB Board Audit Committee and sits on the Talent and Organisational Development Board Committee.

He also sits on the FIFA Audit & Compliance Committee, representing Fiji. He holds a Diploma in Textile Engineering from M.S. University. He is the President of the Fiji Football Association and Vice President of the Oceania Football Confederation.

He is also a Justice of Peace, and PTFA President for the Board of Governance at Xavier College.

(Updated December 2018)

Mr. Romit Parshottam Meghji – Board Director

Appointed April 2019

Mr. Meghji is the Executive Director of P. Meghji Group of Companies. He also holds Directorship at Ritam Investments (Property owners of Sheraton Tokoriki Resort and Spa), Cloud Investments, Virtualflex IT Company, Fresh Choice Supermarket, Krisp Investments, P. Meghji Trading and P. Meghji Co. Ltd.

Mr. Meghji holds a Bachelor of Business in Accounting degree from the Auckland University of Technology.

He has over a decade of experience in managing family-owned businesses and has been instrumental in guiding these businesses to their strategic goals.

Mr. Meghji is a keen sports enthusiast representing Fiji in Squash to the Commonwealth and Pacific Games. He holds various leadership positions within the Gujarati Community in Fiji and the Region focusing on Education, Sports and Community Development.

(Updated August 2019)