Co-op: Manny’s departure will not affect Thomas Cook merger

The departure of Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa will not affect the retail merger with The Co-operative Travel and Midlands Co-operative.

The Co-operative Travel group reaffirmed its commitment to the merger today following the announcement that Fontenla-Novoa would no longer head Thomas Cook.

A spokesman for the Co-operative Group said: “Today’s announcement from Thomas Cook is a matter for the company’s management and has no bearing on the proposed joint venture.

“All parties involved in the joint venture remain committed to it and are working towards a successful outcome, based on the final announcements from the Competition Commission which are expected shortly.”

The Competition Commission gave the merger a provisional go-ahead on July 21 and is expected to issue final clearance later this month. The deadline for it to do so is in October.

Fontenla-Novoa’s interim replacement Sam Weihagen was deputy chief executive at the time the joint venture was negotiated.

The merger would create a chain of more than 1,200 high street shops plus franchise outlets and home workers.

Fontenla-Novoa has repeatedly defended the retail tie-up between the companies since it was announced last October. However, the deal has been queried both within the travel sector and in the City.

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