THE
trade has reacted with shock at the sudden departure of MyTravel UK deputy chief
operating officer Steve Endacott – a mere 13 months after taking the job.

Endacott’s
departure follows a restructure of MyTravel’s core UK business in which
Endacott’s role has disappeared, along with that of EMedia commercial director
John Anderson.

Sources
close to the company claim staff are “shell-shocked”, with morale at an
all-time low and further job cuts feared.

Endacott’s
return to MyTravel in August 2002 was seen as a move to address its pricing
policy and bolster its management team. But after a series of profit warnings
at the end of last year, the company issued a new warning in August blaming
poor yield management and pricing decisions made last year.

Sources
close to Endacott said he is carrying the can for MyTravel’s ongoing financial
woes.

“Had
he realised the scale of the task ahead he would never have rejoined the
company,” said one source.

Another
added: “People are shell-shocked, and fear more bad news to come. Endacott is
being used as a whipping boy, but this leaves very few people at senior level
who know anything about tour operating. Steve has his rough edges, but he knows
what he’s doing.”

MyTravel
UK and Ireland chief executive Duncan Wilson said the split was amicable.

“This
is by no means an indictment of Steve Endacott’s performance this year. He has
worked very hard and contributed a great deal to the business.”

Endacott
declined to comment.