Thomas Cook boss quits after Egypt, Tunisia unrest brings bad year for travel firm

AFP, Wednesday 3 Aug 2011

Manny Fontenla-Novoa, who took over four years ago, has presided over three profit warnings in the last year linked to unrest in key North African holiday destinations

Thomas Cook
British travel firm has been hit hard by North African unrest (Photo: Reuters)

Thomas Cook's chief executive resigned on Wednesday following a disastrous year for Europe's second largest travel firm, the company announced in a statement.

Manny Fontenla-Novoa, who took over four years ago, has presided over three profit warnings in the last year linked to unrest in key holiday destinations Egypt and Tunisia and a poor performance in Thomas Cook's British division.

It is believed Fontenla-Novoa agreed to stand down after accepting responsibility for the poor performance in Britain.

Deputy chief executive Sam Weihagen will run the business until a new chief executive is found. Fontenla-Novoa joined the group in 1996 after it acquired SunWorld, a business he founded.

Confirming his resignation, he said: "Thomas Cook and its people have a sound heritage and I have been proud to have been part of the company."

Thomas Cook's latest profit warnings last month showed it expected full-year 2011 operating profits of £320 million (363 million euros, uS$506 million), compared with 2010's £362.2 million.

On Wednesday, Thomas Cook said it remained on track to meet its profit target.

Shares in the company, which have lost two-thirds of their value this year, were up more than five per cent to 63.90 pence following the announcement of Fontenla-Novoa's departure.

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