Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser wrote to thousands of staff who have lost their jobs with the failure of the company to insist that “every avenue and beyond” was explored to try to save the business.
Around 9,000 employees in the UK will be affected with the repercussions to be felt across the wider travel industry for months to come.
Fankhauser wrote to employees: “It is with a heavy heart that I write this message to you.
“Despite the best efforts of so many people, I deeply regret to inform you that after many months of fierce negotiation we have failed to find the support required for the continued future of Thomas Cook Group.
“I know you will find this incredibly difficult to digest – as I do. However, I want you to know that the team and I explored every avenue and beyond to save tis business.”
He confirmed: “Late last night the board took the decision to file for the insolvency of the UK businesses, including our UK based airline.
“In the early hours of this morning the High Court appointed the Official Receiver to act as liquidator.
“Unfortunately that means that with immediate effect these businesses cease to trade.”
Fankhauser spelt out that the UK businesses of Thomas Cook are now under the control of the Official Receiver and confirmed that AlixPartners and KMG have been appointed.
However, the insolvency proceedings do not involve the group’s continental and Nordic arms.
“For those outside the UK jurisdiction, please refer to your local management teams to understand what this means for your business,” Fankhauser wrote.
“The coming weeks are going to be extremely difficult,” he said. “However, I know I can rely on you all to behave in the exemplary way you have always done in times of crisis.
“Shortly you will receive invitations to the relevant townhalls and team meetings that will be supported by our HR colleagues and professionals from AlIxParnters or KPMG.”
In signing off, he added: “It has been an honour and my great privilege to work with all of you for the past 20 years. I am so proud of everything you have done to keep our customers at the heart of everything we do; your dedication and expertise is the reason why Thomas Cook will always be one of the best loved brands in travel.”