Kane Pirie to leave Travel Republic

Travel Republic chief executive Kane Pirie has resigned from the company.

Co-founder Chris Waite is also leaving but Paul Furner, the third director, is staying on to become chief executive. Staff at the online travel agency were told the news just moments ago.

Ian Simmonds will become chief financial officer, Elliott Pritchard will become chief marketing officer and Adam Gill, chief technology officer.

Chris Roche will continue in the role of chief commercial officer and manage international expansion. 

A leading and multi-award winning UK independent web agency, Travel Republic was acquired by Dnata, a subsidiary of the Emirates Group, in December 2011.

Pirie said: “This is a simple, positive scenario. It’s just two entrepreneurial guys moving on to do other things.

“Travel Republic was fantastic; an absolute adventure, with the deals we did, the court case, everything. But I never applied for a job at Dnata and it’s time to try something new.

“We have grown the business to circa £600 million in less than 10 years, completed three transactions and prevailed in a major legal dispute. We have also pulled together a fantastic team of people to take the business forward.”

Pirie also revealed he had a personal reason for leaving Travel Republic.

His six week old daughter Izolda has been diagnosed with heart problems and he will be fundraising for the Royal Brompton hospital where she is being treated. 

He said:  “My first priority is to raise funds for the Royal Brompton but I expect that I’ll be popping up in a travel company fairly soon.”

Travel Republic is one of the UK’s leading travel agencies to emerge from the move towards dynamic packaging on the back of the rise of the low-cost airlines.

This put the Kingston-Upon-Thames based firm on a collision course with regulators at the CAA which accused it of breaching Atol consumer protection regulations, and criminal legal proceedings were started.

However, Travel Republic and Pirie personally successfully fought the allegations in court and the case against him was dropped before the company was found not guilty.

Pirie has been a prominent individual in the travel industry for a number of years due to his role at Travel Republic. He had been a member of the Abta board until November last year when he resigned amid disagreement with the association’s stance on EU Package Travel Directive reform.

He went on to become a founding member of the Association of Travel Agents (ATA), which hopes to lobby in favour of agents during the Atol reform process in Europe. 

Dnata, a travel agency and gound handling specialist, bought Travel Republic for an undisclosed sum saying it wanted to use its online expertise to advance its web presence in its core markets in the Middle East and Asia and to help the firm with its international expansion.

“Travel Republic is well positioned for continued growth, through its unique easy to book, value for money offering which appeals to customers’ needs,” said Iain Andrew, Travel Republic’s chairman. “With our management team, we have a strong foundation for international growth with sites across the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Spain.” 

“I would like to thank Kane Pirie and Chris Waite for their roles in bringing Travel Republic to the prominent position that it holds today in the UK travel industry. Their contributions are highly valued and I wish them well for the future.”

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