Former TUI boss Peter Rothwell is to take up the position of Kuoni chief executive starting January 2009.

Until the end of 2007 he was deputy chief executive of TUI Travel and a member of the board of directors of TUI AG, playing a leading role in Thomson’s merger with First Choice. He announced his departure in December, amid speculation he had fallen out with chief executive Peter Long.

Kuoni chairman Henning Boyen said Rothwell was the best of the candidates for the position.

“We are very pleased to have Peter Rothwell, a recognised professional in our industry, commit himself to this top position in Kuoni,” he said.

Rothwell added: “Kuoni is well positioned as an upmarket specialist. To further advance Kuoni at the top of the market for premium and specialised travel for me is as much a logical as fascinating challenge.”