‘Thomas Cook will never be far from my heart’: Manny’s letter to staff and partners

Thomas Cook Group chief Manny Fontenla-Novoa has written to company stakeholders following his decision to step down. The full text of his letter appears below.

This is by far the hardest note I’ve ever had to write to you as it is with deep sadness that I tell you of my personal decision to step down from my role as Group CEO with immediate effect.
As one united team, under the banner of the best known name in travel, we’ve created one of the world’s leading travel organisations. Through good times and bad, we’ve pulled together to ensure that we come through stronger and more determined. 

We work in an industry that is impacted by so many external factors – conflicts, terrorism, natural disasters, financial and economic crises to name but a few – but we’ve always stood tall and taken every challenge head on.
We’ve never been intimidated and have always strived to make this ‘our time’, the chapter that will go down as the most successful in Thomas Cook’s long and prestigious 170 year history.  From a business perspective, I take particular pride in having led Thomas Cook through the remarkable journey from being a UK centric company to the truly international group that it is today, with 31,000 employees, serving more than 22 million customers in 22 source markets and operating 93 aircraft. 

We also led consolidation within the UK market when we created the plc in 2007, handled the unprecedented ash cloud crisis last year impeccably and showed our true ambition when we embarked on our upcoming merger with the Co-ops.
Personally, what will always stand out for me is how we have instilled the PROUD values across every market we operate in.  You have embraced them entirely, and some of my most treasured memories will be of the PROUD Awards and the very special teams and individuals we’ve recognised. 

Also, the support, and millions of pounds you’ve raised, for the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity will always amaze me and bring a lump to my throat. You make such a difference, you really do, so please don’t ever stop giving, raising money and having fun with the charity that we have grown. 
I could list so many more achievements that I’ve experienced with you since I first joined Thomas Cook aged just 18, but suffice to say that it has been both a pleasure and a privilege to have shared in all these special times with you. I count many of you as personal friends and continue to believe so strongly in you all and what I know you will achieve in the future.  
Thomas Cook leads in so many ways, none more so than through its people.  It’s those of you on the front line, and the teams that support you, who make this company what it is.  I know that, despite the current challenges, you will continue with our tradition of going further to make dreams come true and will take Thomas Cook even further forward, on to bigger and better things in the future.
One thing for sure is that Thomas Cook will never be far from my heart. I will miss the company, but mostly the people, dearly and you can rest assured that in the future I won’t just book it, I’ll always Thomas Cook it!

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unwavering support, friendship and the many laughs we’ve shared over the years and truly wish you nothing but the best for the future.
My sincere best wishes,

Manny Fontenla-Novoa

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