Wendy Wu Tours UK managing director Laurence Hicks is to leave the business.
Hicks announced his departure to staff on Friday, saying he felt he had taken the “traditional business” to a point where it could embark on its next chapter as a “new-style, new-look ecommerce business”.
The China specialist is due to go live with an online booking system in the coming weeks and a “new product proposition will evolve as a result”, the statement added.
The company’s group chief executive Joe Karbo will act as interim UK managing director following Hicks’ departure, with a recruitment process now starting to find a replacement managing director with a “great track record in online business”.
Hicks had two spells at Wendy Wu, leaving for the first time in 2009 and returning in late 2012. In the subsequent four-and-a-half years, the UK business has doubled in size, with 2017 turnover expected to hit a target of £30 million.
In the statement to staff, Hicks said: “Having brought the traditional business to this point, I have decided that the transition to a new-style, new-look ecommerce business requires different leadership with different skill sets and experience and I have therefore made a very difficult decision to leave the business and make way for a new leader.”
He added: “I appreciate that this news will come as a complete surprise to you all but I feel it is both in the company’s best commercial interest and my personal interest as I seek to pursue other somewhat more modest business interests and enjoy more quality time with my partner.”
Wendy Wu Tours founder and chairperson Wendy Wu paid tribute to Hicks in a message to staff, saying she had made “many attempts” to persuade him to stay.
She particularly hailed his impact on the UK business, which she said had “effectively become the operator’s head office”.
Hicks will leave the UK office on March 20, before working on a series of special projects for the operator until his departure from the company on April 20.
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