Stella Travel Services UK managing director Andrew Laurie is to leave the UK business before the end of the year.

Laurie has held his current position for two years and as overseen the acquisition of Travel 2, Travelbag and Global Travel Group. The group also owns agency chain Harvey World Travel.

He plans to continue working for Stella at its Sydney headquarters and cited personal reasons for returning to his native Australia.

He said: “From a personal perspective, it’s time I went home. I want to move on. There is a lifestyle available [to my family] in Australia that is not available here.”

His decision follows the ­appointment three months ago of Shane Flynn as managing director for Europe. He will run the UK and is also tasked with increasing the business, with acquisitions in Europe likely within two years.

Staff were told of Laurie’s departure on Wednesday. There will be a handover period of two to three months. “We will continue to work side by side to make sure business is well looked after. Shane will run the UK but given we have nothing in Europe yet there are opportunities there,” added Laurie.

Laurie said the UK would continue to be run in the same way, despite rumours of a management shake-up.

News of Laurie’s departure comes in the same week commercial and product director Stephen Rhodes announced he will leave Stella Travel Services UK on September 19.

Rhodes’ decision follows a change in his job role as a result of the creation of a dedicated air division for the UK and global ground buying arrangements. During Maria Whiteman’s maternity leave, Rhodes was acting managing director for Travel 2.

In recent weeks Harvey World Travel’s 69 UK shops have become the first to undergo a revamp to modernise the brand’s high street image. A new-look website is being launched this month.