Gillian Bray has quit Freedom Travel Group to join Midcounties Co-operative to run its new travel agency consortium.
The departure of Bray, who was sales and recruitment manager for the north and Scotland at Freedom, is seen as a coup by Midcounties. It follows a string of senior level departures from The Co-operative Group to join Midcounties, including Alistair Rowland, Sheena Darby and Julie Gibson.
Bray is joining as business development manager and will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the consortium, which will welcome its first members at the end of this month.
She will be replaced at Freedom by Rhian Herbert, who has already been with Freedom for eight years in an operational role.
Rowland said: “Gillian is a brilliant signing and has a very high pedigree of looking after independent members.”
Bray joined Freedom in 2005 and has been in the travel industry in both retailing and tour operating for over 25 years. Part of her role at Freedom was to recruit new members and support existing members.
Since news of the ‘managed service’ consortium was revealed exclusively by Travel Weekly, Rowland said there had been a “high level of interest” among independent retailers keen to join a “financially stable” consortium.
Rowland belives the fact the consortium will have principal status, so agents can package up holidays under its umbrella Atol, will be attractive to many agents. “The point that everyone is missing with Flight-Plus is that agents have to declare how much they mark up holidays by and customers will know how much they are charging. For independent agents that’s a nightmare,” he added.
The consortium is targeting around 30 agencies with turnovers of up to £10 million over a two year period.
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