Hays Travel has appointed Jonathon Woodall as chief operating officer following the death of founder and managing director John Hays.

He will work with the Hays Travel board and senior leadership team to take forward the two-year business plan John and Irene Hays had put in place.

Woodall joined Hays Travel in 2004 and worked closely with John Hays for more than 16 years when he has held positions including finance manager, head of Independence Group (IG) and head of commercial. The company said he has played a key role in major acquisitions.


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Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, said: “John was proud of the career success of our loyal, committed and talented people. Jonathon has excelled since he started, and while the circumstances of his promotion are not what anyone would have ever wanted, he has the confidence and support of everyone in the business.”

Woodall said: “I am privileged to take John’s legacy forward alongside all of the people in Hays Travel who want to do the same. Although these are challenging times for the travel industry, we have strong plans in place.

“Irene and I will continue to reach for excellence in the way we look after our people, our customers and our suppliers.”

Current head of homeworking and telesales John Milburn will become marketing and homeworking director and join the board alongside Mark Hatton, former senior partner at Ernst & Young, who takes a non-executive role.

They join Irene Hays, director of retail Jane Schumm group finance director Claire Maith on the Hays Travel board.