Charlie Mayhew, MBE - Chief Executive
Educated at Wellington Colllege, Berkshire (UK) Charles Mayhew enjoyed two ‘gap’ years working in South Africa, Switzerland and then as a Deckhand on a Norwegian tanker ship to work his passage around the world to New Zealand and Australia.
After returning to the UK, he started work in 1981 as a Marine Insurance Broker at Lloyds of London with Willis Faber & Dumas Ltd. However Africa was always beckoning and in 1984 he persuaded Willis Faber to sponsor him to organize a major expedition across Africa as part of the UN’s International Year of Youth. After 18 months of planning the 33 strong team led by Mayhew departed London bound for Africa and with the personal backing of the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Driving in a convoy of 8 four-wheel drive vehicles, the Young Europe Africa Expedition crossed the Sahara and then headed east across Niger to Chad where the team had to make a hasty evacuation from Ndjamena hours before it came under attack from the Libyan air force! Having negotiated a challenging crossing of the forests of the Congo, they reached Rwanda. Once safely in Kenya, Mayhew’s team undertook a series of projects which were recorded by Channel 4 as an early form of ‘reality TV’. The team completed their epic journey to South Africa via Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana.
On his return in Mayhew was elected a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society and made a member of the Scientific Exploration Society.
In 1988, Mayhew formed an independent financial service business, and in 1990 this business became allied to the St James’s Place Wealth Management Group.
However his experiences in Africa had also spurred him on to try and make some meaningful contribution towards wildlife conservation and with the actor Timothy Ackroyd, they decided to produce a drama to portray the horrors of the ivory trade. In 1992 Mayhew co-produced the £3.5m feature film ‘Lost in Africa’ written and directed by Stewart Raffill and which was distributed to over 30 countries worldwide.
It was as a part of this film initiative that Mayhew and Ackroyd established Tusk Trust in 1990 and under Mayhew’s stewardship the charity has since grown into becoming a highly reputable NGO.
Additional charitable commitments have included being a member of the Board of GAP Activity Projects (1991-2003), the international youth volunteering charity of which he was also Chairman of Appeal (2000-2003).
In 2002 Mayhew decided to step down as a Trustee of Tusk to become its first Chief Executive Officer. The following year he persuaded Lord Deedes and The Daily Telegraph to depart from their usual policy and select a conservation charity as one of the newspaper’s Christmas charities. The considerable profile and revenue gained from this prestigious appeal helped bring Tusk’s work to the world’s attention.
In recognition of his services to conservation in Africa, Charles Mayhew was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen in December 2005.
He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and four children.
It is a genuine pleasure for Catherine and me to be here tonight at the Tusk Awards for Conservation in Africa to support a cause that has never been closer to our hearts than it is right now.