Former Thomas Cook bosses Chris Mottershead, Kathryn Darbandi and Nicki Tempest-Mitchell have joined Barrhead Travel parent Travel Leaders Group.

They have been recruited to lead a nation-wide expansion of Barrhead Travel.

The announcement is part of a growth plan revealed by Barrhead and parent company, Travel Leaders Group, to grow Barrhead Travel by up to 100 stores.

A UK-wide recruitment drive to hire former Thomas Cook employees is underway and the expansion team will work to implement new store openings across the country.


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Mottershead, who was chief of product and operations, will lead the expansion effort with Darbandi and Tempest-Mitchell working alongside.

Rival agency chain Hays Travel has re-opened 186 former Thomas Cook stores and almost 2,000 staff after signing a short-term lease agreement to take on the failed travel giant’s entire retail estate.

Travel Leaders Group chairman Mike Batt said: “Chris, Kathryn and Nicki have an extensive knowledge of the travel retail industry and are very well placed to identify the locations and teams necessary to create a successful retail footprint across the UK.”

Barrhead Travel president Jacqueline Dobson said: “Chris and the expansion team will bring valuable insights and experience to help extend Barrhead Travel’s quality service to new communities and we look forward to the first of many new store openings under this initiative. It is gratifying to see that they reflect our group values: prizing people development, customer experience and dedication to the high street travel agent.”

Catherine Finlan and Phil Hudson-Evans, who recently joined the group, have begun working on the logistics of opening stores, recruitment and training for the new stores.

Recently-hired Thomas Cook employees are undergoing specially-devised training programmes in Barrhead’s Glasgow Training Academy.

Dobson said: “As well as taking on former Thomas Cook employees within our existing store-network, we are actively recruiting in new areas across the UK.

“We have identified a number of locations and are currently in negotiations to secure premises. The former Thomas Cook employees are hugely talented and we are keen to work with them to reopen new state-of-the-art stores in their local communities as soon as possible.”