Founder, The Brando, Tetiaroa Society, & Blue Climate Initiative
Richard Bailey is the founder of French Polynesia’s largest luxury resort group and developer of the multi-award-winning resort, The Brando. The self-referred ‘innkeeper’ found a passion for Tahiti during childhood vacations and, years later, would return to establish his life and career there. He started in hospitality buying out the Intercontinental Hotel in Tahiti with the support of a close friend and colleague. Over time they would grow the portfolio to encompass seven hotels and, at one point, two cruise ships.
Richard’s impact journey began later after visiting Tetiaroa, Marlon Brando’s private atoll. Encompassing 12 islets that surround a 5-mile lagoon, Tetiaroa atoll is arguably one of Tahiti’s most precious and storied destinations. Marlon’s wish was for this breathtakingly beautiful atoll to be preserved for future generations.
A friendship sparked between the two over a shared dream to see a small part of it developed into a ground-breaking, sustainable, luxury resort and scientific and cultural research center that would then serve as stewards of the atoll. In 2014 the resort was christened The Brando, and the research station Tetiaroa Society, and together they quickly became a paragon in sustainable hospitality.
The Brando has initiated pioneering scientific research into solutions for rebalancing delicate ecosystems, the eradication of invasive species, energy efficiency and waste reduction. Some examples include the world’s first commercial application of SWAC (seawater air-conditioning), which uses deep sea water for all cooling, an inexhaustible source of carbon neutral non-fossil energy, now used at Tahiti’s central hospital and other hotels, a natural mosquito eradication technology, now being scaled for application to other islands, and frontier research in ocean chemistry and acidification using the deep-sea resource.
In 2018, Richard launched the Blue Climate Initiative (BCI), inspired by a conversation with Barack Obama while staying at The Brando. The aim was to assemble the world’s greatest minds to accelerate oceanic based solutions to climate change by pairing scientific research with bottom-up innovation. The Blue Climate Initiative is now working globally across numerous countries and supports solutions that address “transformational opportunities”.
Richard’s work has garnered numerous awards, including the Legion of Honour in France. He holds a BA and MA from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Above all, Richard is a proud husband, father and grandfather, as well as an avid scuba diver, motorcyclist, aviator and general wayfarer who enjoys ‘exploring this astonishing world we are so fortunate to inhabit’.