Thomas Cook has confirmed it has started the search for a new managing director of its UK & Ireland business following Andrew Flintham’s surprise U-turn.
Flintham was due to start in the role on March 1 having left his post at Tui, where he was commercial director, in October last year.
But yesterday, Tui named him as its new UK & Ireland managing director, following Nick Longman’s departure.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, a Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “We have started looking for a replacement for Andrew Flintham both internally and externally.”
She said very little changed in the meantime.
“Chris Mottershead, our chief of UK source market and group differentiated product, has been running the UK business for some time and so will continue to do that. Even in his expanded role, he was always going to oversee the running of the UK, so nothing changes.
“He was hoping the arrival of a UK & Ireland MD would free him up to focus more time on some of his wider group responsibilities, but that will just have to wait a little longer.”
A source close to Thomas Cook said Flintham’s decision not to join had taken everyone at the company aback.
“He had basically spent the last five months getting ready to move over and was fewer than two weeks away from starting. So his decision not to was quite a surprise and very last minute,” the source said.
In October 2017, Flintham had said: “I’m very excited to be joining Thomas Cook to lead the UK business at such an interesting time for the tour operating industry. Their customer at our heart strategy is a great proposition – I am looking forward to next year.”
Comments on Travel Weekly’s website questioned Flintham’s principles, but former Tui UK managing director Dermot Blastland said: “Great thinking by [executive board member] Dave Burling to invite Andrew back. Good for Andrew, who’ll do a great job, and good for Tui UK .”