Saga Group has appointed Jeannette Linfoot, former managing director of Tui’s emerging markets division, as managing director of Saga’s tour operating divisions to spearhead significant growth.
Saga Holidays began selling through the trade exactly a year ago.
Linfoot explained the new role, reporting to Saga Travel chief executive Andrew Strong, had been created to capitalise on Saga’s “huge growth potential of its travel businesses”.
She said: “Saga IPO’d last year really successfully and it is now looking to grow quite extensively across the group. I am delighted to be joining at such an exciting time. The over 50s segment is really growing and this is going to be a great opportunity to tap into this market.”
Linfoot added: “With fantastic diverse brands including Saga Holidays, Titan and Destinology – and serving such a discerning and growing population, great opportunities lie ahead. I’m passionate about travel and service and am really looking forward to building on the expertise of the team and the wonderful range of products they have created.
“This is a brand new strategic role to really drive all three businesses forward.”
The heads of all three businesses will report to Linfoot but Saga’s cruise business will not. All sales and operations functions will report into her, with marketing still reporting to a chief marketing officer with a dotted line into Linfoot and the cruise division.
Linfoot explained her role would enable Strong, who oversees financial services as well as travel, to devote more time to Saga’s new retirement villages which it plans to build in the UK.
Strong said: “This is an exciting time for Saga Travel with our ambitious plans for growth and I am delighted that we have attracted someone of Jeannette’s calibre to join us to drive the strategic development of our tour operations. Her appointment builds on the outstanding quality and capability of the existing management team. We have been steadily growing and extending the reach of our travel businesses and we are sure to go from strength to strength.”
Linfoot has worked in the travel industry for more than 20 years. She started at Thomson in 1995 where she stayed for seven years before moving to Barcelona to work for Tui Espana between 2002-2003.
She then joined Thomas Cook as head of product and was named Young Manager of the Year at the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame.
She was subsequently head-hunted in 2006 to join First Choice as product director before moving to the emerging markets division as business development director in 2008 following the company’s merger with Thomson.
She became MD of Tui’s emerging markets division in 2013, reporting directly to Peter Long, until May this year.
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