has announced Mark Maddock is to be its new UK and Ireland managing director on a permanent basis.

Maddock has been running in UK and Ireland on a temporary basis since July 2010.

He has been with for the past eight years, starting out as hotel product director then four years as European director of hotel partner marketing. 

Lastminute said under his leadership saw substantial growth in its hotel portfolio across Europe and increased focus on maintaining strong supplier relationships.

It also said Maddock was also instrumental in the growth of the “Top Secret Hotels” initiative that pioneered as an exclusive offering to its customers.

Ed Kamm, chief operating officer of said: “Mark has shown the twin characteristics that are so rare in leaders, but which are fundamental to those who run’s businesses: astute strategic vision and leadership coupled with a charismatic flair and feel for our brand. 

“Likewise he has demonstrated an ability to combine a deep understanding of our supply partners across categories as diverse as hotels, restaurants, events and attractions with an understanding of what has kept a uniquely appealing business for our consumers. 

“He knows our business inside out and I believe this enormous depth of knowledge and insight of our industry will be a critical part of our continued success and growth in the UK and Ireland.”

Maddock added: “I am enormously passionate about the business and delighted with this new challenge. 

“As we roll into 2011 my key priorities will be to continue improving customer experience and usability, maintain our strong partner and supplier relationships and ultimately ensure the business continues to deliver on our commitments to our customers, employees and shareholders.”