Thomas Cook's plans ambitious but 'not without risk'

Thomas Cook's plans ambitious but 'not without risk'

Thomas Cook Group’s strategy to restructure its business to raise up to £150 million is ambitious but “not without risk”, according to a leading analyst.

Following the group’s announcement earlier today in which chief executive Harriet Green outlined plans that included raising its web penetration to half of all sales, Douglas McNeill, investment director at stockbrokers Charles Stanley, told Travel Weekly he was reassured by the strategy.

“Clearly a great deal of thought has gone into the thinking of Thomas Cook’s approach to lift the business,” he said.

“I would say that I was reassured that while the plans are ambitious, it’s a measured kind of ambition.

“There’s recognition of the fact that Thomas Cook has a lot of strengths and it’s important not to change everything, not to throw the baby out with the bath water.”

McNeill said that Green appeared to show an emphasis on “changing the personnel, the senior management, in order to do things better”.

“You get a sense of a chief executive assembling quite a different senior management team, and that would seem to be a positive step, provided they perform as she expects,” he said.

However, McNeill added that the strategy was “not without risk”, with reorganisation of airlines and Thomas Cook’s relationship with hotels needing to be handled carefully.

Restructuring its online presence also had potential risks, said McNeill. “They are looking to develop their digital capabilities in order to forge much closer relationships with their customers. That requires newer and better systems, and IT systems have a habit of going wrong sometimes.”


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