Thomas Cook chief dismisses talk of airline disposal

By Ian Taylor,

Thomas Cook head of airlines and hotels Christoph Debus has dismissed a recent report that the group discussed selling its airline and defended the record of former chief executive Harriet Green.

Referring to a Sunday Times report last month that Cook was looking to offload its airlines through a joint venture or sale, Debus told Travel Weekly: “I never talked to the investor mentioned [in the article].

“We are definitely not desperate to sell our airline. There were no talks. There is no real news.”

He said: “Harriet asked at the beginning ‘Do we need our airline?’ She realised quickly we have a board able to run an airline successfully.

“We see our selves [Thomas Cook airlines] as a fully integrated part of the group “Our strategy is to create synergies by bringing our airlines together. A pure airline operation does not really make much sense.”

Green left Thomas Cook abruptly late last year and the group is now headed by chief executive Peter Fankhauser.

Debus said: “Harriet was extremely strong in what she did in the first year of transformation.

“She was the perfect person for the job at the time. She did an amazing job.

“I was her first hire. She was a very demanding boss but she taught me a lot. It was always clear she would move on.”

He said: “Peter [Fankhauser] is very experienced in transformation too, but he has also focused on the operations. This is a difference.”

Sourced by Travel Weekly

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