Abta members have until the end of December to nominate a retail candidate for election to the association’s board.

Candidates must be from retailers with a turnover of at least £20 million a year. An election will follow in January if the position is contested.

The vacancy follows the departure from the board of Mike Greenacre, who was elected as head of The Co-operative Travel in April but will join the management team at the new Thomas Cook/Co-operative Travel retail group Thomas Cook Travel, assuming the merger gains regulatory approval next year.

Thomas Cook already has a representative on the board in Andy Cooper, the company’s director of government and external affairs.

Another Abta board member will join Thomas Cook on January 8 when Ian Ailles takes over as head of mainstream tour operations. Ailles was appointed to the Abta board early this year as chairman of the Federation of Tour Operators – itself part of the association – while working as European managing director of Wyndham Exchange and Rentals.

Abta confirmed one of the appointed board members employed by Thomas Cook would step down, with the decision on whom resting on Thomas Cook and FTO members.

Chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “We can’t have two appointed representatives from the same organisation.” He confirmed Greenacre would be eligible to stand again for the board as an elected member.