James started his career in travel retail back in 1990, with Allders International in the buying department, progressing through the ranks, before joining World Duty Free early in 1999 just before the duty free abolition as their Head of Category for Duty Free, Tax Free & Luxury. James moved to the Whyte & Mackay Whisky Company as Global Sales Director in 2006 before a move to the Middle East, joining Aer Rianta International as the General Manager of Operations for their Middle East operation.
A family prompted move back to the UK in 2014 saw him joining the Cruise Retail specialists – Harding Retail as Buying Director, before assuming his current role as their Managing Director early in 2016. James has overseen a comprehensive restructure of the business, and since becoming Managing Director, Harding has secured an array of high profile cruise contracts, including the high profile new cruise market entrants - Virgin Voyages and Ritz Cartlon. As a winner of several Frontier Awards over the years at different companies, James knows what it takes to win, and so was an obvious choice to become a judge himself.