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Midcounties appoints ex-BA executive to head travel division

The Midcounties Co-operative has appointed ex-British Airways executive Sara Dunham to head up its travel division.

Dunham will join Midcounties as chief officer – travel and leisure services, with responsibility for the Co-operative Travel business including 78 branches and websites, the Co-op Holidays tour operation, 165 Personal Travel Agents and more than 140 members of the Co-operative Travel Consortium.

She replaces former chief retail officer for specialist business Alistair Rowland, who left Midcounties in 2020 to become chief executive of Co-operative Travel Consortium member Blue Bay Travel.

Dunham has close to 20 years’ experience in the travel industry, with 15 years at British Airways across its airline and tour operating divisions. Her roles at the carrier included leading the development of its direct business with responsibility for BA.com, mobile, contact centres and BA Holidays.

More recently she has worked on strategic projects for Saga Group, including within its travel businesses.

Phil Ponsonby, Midcounties Co-operative chief executive, said: “Travel and leisure services are an important part of our long-term strategy and we are thrilled to be welcoming Sara to drive the next stage of growth across our travel and leisure offering.

“In these particularly challenging times for the sector, delivering the best possible customer experience will be crucial and Sara’s experience will help us to further develop our offering across all channels and in particular to strengthen the relationship with our 700,000 members and support their needs across a broader range of travel and leisure services.”

Dunham added: “Co-operative Travel has an incredibly strong reputation in the market and I am delighted to be joining such a purpose-led organisation. Being member-owned provides a unique point of difference for the society and I look forward to working with the board and Phil as well as the executive team to deepen the experience we offer to members and customers.

“I am really excited to meet what I know are brilliant Co-op travel and Co-op Holidays teams in addition to our really important consortium partners and personal travel agents.”

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