The new chief executive of dnata Travel B2B Europe says the group’s new structure and executive team “reinforce dnata’s commitment and focus on agent relationships”.
Former Stella Travel Services UK chief executive Andrew Botterill has been given responsibility for all dnata Travel’s European B2B businesses as part of group reorganisation.
This means he assumes immediate control of Travel 2 (including Simply Luxury), Gold Medal (including Pure Luxury), the Global Travel Group, plus all airline relationships and commercial negotiations across all dnata UK brands, and for Netflights Retail, the Thomas Cook relationship.
Speaking to Travel Weekly moments after the restructure was announced, Botterill allayed trade fears that one or other of either Travel 2 or Gold Medal might be ditched.
Botterill said: “Travel 2 and Gold Medal are two successful businesses that have done really well over the last few years and following support and investment from dnata, our aim is to make further investments in them both, and will be looking to develop even closer strategic relationships with consortia and agent partners – as well as all our suppliers.”
He would not be drawn on which personnel would be running the businesses but is expected to make an announcement on the ‘next level down of management’ in the coming weeks, tipped to include expanded roles for current Travel 2 managing director Andy Freeth and Global Travel Group managing director Andy Stark.
Botterill said: “The success of both Gold Medal and Travel 2 is the people that work for each of them, and we want to build on that.”
He also declined to comment on the future of the two sites for each business – Gold Medal’s head office and call centre in Preston and Travel 2’s in Glasgow, but sources close to the business say there are still long leases on each, suggesting they will both be retained in the immediate future.
Botterill said he would focus on “bringing together the best of what we’ve got”, but stressed “there are no plans to change anything in terms of branding”.
“What dnata is focused on is growth,” said Botterill. “Both Gold Medal and Travel 2 are showing impressive growth which is being driven by the travel trade and we just want to continue that work further.”
He urged agents comfortable booking Gold Medal to just continue booking Gold Medal, and advised those with a stronger relationship with Travel 2 to continue selling Travel 2 holidays.
Botterill continued: “What Iain Andrew [divisional senior vice president of dnata Travel] has done is lay down a new executive team structure which will, a) deal with all the operational issues across the UK and Europe to make things run even more smoothly, and b) create a structure where every time dnata makes a new acquisition, it will be easier to slot a new business in.”
While Botterill assumes responsibility for the B2B brands in the UK, the B2C brands (Netflights, Travelbag and Sunmaster) will now come under the remit of Ian Simmonds and Neale Chinery, joint bosses of Travel Republic.
Simmonds becomes chief executive dnata travel B2C Europe (commercial), leading the e-commerce and marketing functions of all B2C businesses, while Neale Chinery will oversee operations for them all. Adam Gill meanwhile extends his current role as Travel Republic chief technology officer to become IT director dnata Travel.
The new structure sees Gold Medal managing director Steve Barrass take on a new role looking after supplier relations, thought to be based in Dubai. Barass will leave the Preston-based operator to head up the supplier relations function for dnata including hotel and accommodation activities, DMCs, event management, public sector relationships and the Mice market.
Announcing the changes, dnata Travel senior vice president, Iain Andrew, said: “In the new executive team, I believe we now have the strongest possible foundation on which to build and drive the future of dnata Travel. Each business leader is an expert in their chosen field and I am delighted with the skills and experience they bring to their respective roles.
“This is a very exciting time for dnata Travel as we move forward to the next phase of our journey. We will continue to explore opportunities, maximise our potential and deliver world class service to everyone we serve.”