Monarch Group has restructured internally in a move executive chairman Iain Rawlinson describes as “a pivotal moment” for the UK’s third-largest travel company.

The restructure will create a unified travel group for the first time at Monarch, where businesses formerly operated separately.

A new group executive committee, composed of the managing directors of six operating divisions, will report to a new chief operating officer – Richard Mintern, former head of Monarch Aircraft Engineering.

Cosmos Holidays mainstream products managing director Stuart Jackson takes a wider role as group distribution director. Monarch Airlines managing director Tim Jeans has the added role of chair of a new marketing group, and overseas purchasing and product director Hugh Morgan becomes tour operations managing director.

All three will sit on the group executive committee alongside managing directors of the remaining divisions, which include a new retail and online activities division headed by Richard Hadfield who has previously worked for Opodo and Thomas Cook and will join on July 26.

The group will appoint a chief executive before the end of the year.

Rawlinson said: “This is positioning us for the future, particularly after the tough market last year. The business was successful for many years as a group of independent businesses, but if you operate separately you lose margin and you lose opportunity.”

That separation was mirrored in different online platforms for the airline and tour operations that would now become seamless, said Rawlinson. “We will develop and extend the existing platform.”

The Mantegazza family which owns the group was “heavily involved” in the restructuring, he said: “The shareholders see an enormous among of value yet to be unlocked and want to extract it. This is about business growth.” There would be investment by the family, said Rawlinson, without giving details.

The review that led to the restructure began at the end of last year, but was focussed by the recent ash crisis. Rawlinson said: “The crisis was uncomfortable, as it was for everybody in the industry, but you could say it was one of the agents of change – using all our best tour operator skills. It amplified the idea we already had.”

A refinement of the brand strategy will follow in time for the main summer 2011 programme, he said. The group includes charter and scheduled airline Monarch, tour operator Cosmos Holidays, flight-only operator Avro and accommodation-only site somewhere2stay.

It has a combined annual turnover of £790 million. Monarch Airlines carried 6.6 million passengers and its tour operators handled 780,000 customers last year.

Former Monarch Travel Group chief executive Peter Brown stepped down in February. Rawlinson, a former investment banker, joined the group as executive chairman last year.