A new group head of health and safety has been named by Thomas Cook Group.

It comes almost a year to the day after the operator was criticised in an independent review of how it dealt with the family of two children two died of carbon monoxide poisioning.

Bobby and Christi Shepherd, aged six and seven, died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Corfu in October 2006.

The review into the firm’s customer health and safety procedures and crisis management said the deaths were compounded by Thomas Cook’s reaction.

Cook said the report, which also said parts of the firm protected costs ahead of customer experience, made for “uncomfortable reading in parts”.

The appointment of Clay Stayt is part of a “continued focus on embedding a consistent approach to health and safety across its own brand and partner hotels,” Cook said.

He takes over from Julia Watson who led the function on an interim basis following the departure of Peter Welsh.

Stayt joins Cook from independent travel provider GTA and has more than 20 years health and safety experience in the travel, retail and hotel sectors.

He previously worked for clothing retailer River Island and travel companies Libra Holidays and First Choice. 

Group chief commercial officer Bjorne Sandstrom said: “Making sure our customers can safely enjoy travelling with Thomas Cook is our top priority, and our increased focus on health and safety and customer welfare has been a huge part of our work to put customers at our heart. 

“Clay’s extensive experience means he is well-placed to lead this work and I’m sure he will benefit from Julia’s knowledge to help move us forward in this hugely important area of the business.”