The former head of Thomas Cook-owned Freedom Travel Group Kelly Cookes is to join Advantage Travel Partnership in the role of leisure director.

Cookes had just been promoted to head of commercial partnerships and sales planning at Thomas Cook when the company collapsed on September 23.

Her appointment at the travel agency consortium follows the departure of Advantage’s group commercial director and board director Paula Lacey last month to relocate to Dubai.

Cookes, who starts next week, will be responsible for driving the leisure strategy for the consortium. As well as its leisure travel agencies, including its managed service branches, Cookes will oversee the group’s marketing, commercial and digital business.

She will report into chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said and will sit on the consortium’s board. Head of commercial John Sullivan, head of business development David Moon and head of marketing David Forder will report directly into Cookes.

The new role follows a restructure which split management of Advantage’s leisure and business agents. Simon Bennetts started in the new role of head of business travel, commercial and innovation, last month.

Lo Bue-Said said: “We are thrilled to have someone of Kelly’s calibre join the team in this vital role. We are confident Kelly’s enthusiasm and expertise will enable us to drive our leisure activity with an increased momentum.

“Kelly’s new role is part of our vision for the future. Following Paula Lacey’s departure, we have reshaped our business into areas of divisional expertise, across both business travel and leisure. It is a very exciting time for Kelly to be joining us.”

Cookes said: “I’m really excited to be joining Julia and the entire Advantage team. The consortium continues to show innovation, focus and drive when it comes to delivering for their partners. It’s something I truly admire and can’t wait to be a part of.”

Cookes worked for Thomas Cook for six years. She joined Freedom Travel Group as relationship manager in 2013 and progressed to general manager in 2014, a position she held until August when she was promoted to head of commercial parterships and sales planning across all Cook’s UK distribution channels. During her time at Freedom, both membership and profitability increased.