Cook appoints new UK boss

Cook appoints new UK boss

Thomas Cook has appointed chief executive of Continental Europe Peter Fankhauser to run its UK business.

The travel giant has confirmed that Fankhauser will spend 80% of his time in the UK while retaining his responsibilities for European markets.

His new title will be chief executive of UK & Continental Europe and he will officially take up the role on November 1.

Current UK mainstream chief executive Ian Ailles and independent division chief Phil Aird-Mash will report into Fankhauser.

The new appointment is part of a widespread overhaul of people and positions at Cook, which appointed new group chief executive Harriet Green earlier this year.

Green said: “Transforming the performance of our UK and Ireland business will, in essence, transform the Thomas Cook Group’s performance overall.

“Peter has extensive experience and proven track record of successfully leading and transforming businesses and I’m confident that by bringing our UK and Continental European operations together we will achieve far greater synergies for the group and significantly improve operational efficiency, the sharing of best practice and driving out siloed behaviour.”

Green hinted at a major management restructure at Thomas Cook following a pre-close trading call last week.

Cook has also confirmed a new role for Pete Constanti who will take up the new role of chief people officer with immediate effect reporting into Green.

Cook said “he will use his experience to lead our global people agenda and to achieve this, the HR and learning and development functions in each region will now have dual reporting lines into Pete and their local market.”

Constanti will continue to lead Group Destination Management “to further expand its effectiveness and drive even greater efficiencies in the future” added Cook in a statement.

Green added: “Our people are the driving force behind our future success and Pete’s appointment will ensure that we create a global focus on our people. I’m delighted that Pete has taken on this additional role.”

Other appointments and changes announced today include:

• Working together as Joint Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Reinhard Eschbach (currently CIO TC Germany) and Mariano Albera (currently CIO TC OTA) will use their respective experience in tour operating and web distribution, to align our traditional IT systems with a web-enabled focus for the future.
• Michael Tenzer will now lead the German speaking markets as Managing Director, Germany.
• Kristin Neumann will continue to report to Peter in his new role and support him with all Finance and Administrative functions across the enlarged UK & Continental Europe segment.
• Reto Wilhelm has been appointed as Managing Director, East & West, responsible for The Netherlands, Belgium and Eastern Europe, including the Russian business. Reto has previous international, executive level roles at Kuoni and the airline, Swiss.
• Jenny Peters has joined the company and will report directly to Harriet Green as Group Head of Communications. Jenny will be responsible for Internal Communications and external PR across all segments and these functions will adopt a dual reporting line to her and their local market.
• James Sandford, currently Integration Director in the UK’s retail joint venture, has been appointed as Programme Management Director. James will report directly to Harriet Green and will co-ordinate and drive alignment of transformation activity across the Group.


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