Derek Jones to leave Der Touristik UK

Derek Jones is to leave Der Touristik UK after more than a decade at the helm of Kuoni in the UK.

Jones joined in 2009 and became chief executive for the UK in 2011.

In a message to staff, Jones thanked the team for their dedication and resilience and said the UK group was well placed to recover in the months and years ahead.

Francis Torrilla, managing director of specialist businesses, will take on the role of chief executive of Der Touristik UK on an interim basis and will report into Leif Vase Larsen, chief executive of Der Touristik Northern Europe.

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Jones said: “It’s been a privilege to lead the Kuoni brand over the years, it’s felt like the best job in the world.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team and everything we’ve achieved together and I know that the business will continue to thrive within the DER Touristik group and wish it every success under new leadership.”

He added: “In my 14 years with the business we’ve had many successes making Kuoni and our specialist businesses amongst the most recognised and trusted brands in the UK. I’m proud that we’ve built an amazing workplace recognised as the best place to work in travel and most important of all, we’ve had fun while we were doing it. It’s been a blast.”

Torrilla joined Kuoni in 1998 as head of product and went on to oversee several divisions including product, operations and customer service at director level.

It’s felt like the best job in the world

He currently oversees the specialist businesses, which include Carrier, CV Villas, Journey Latin America, Jules Verne and Kirker. He is also managing director of CV Villas and Jules Verne. He previously worked for Airtours and First Choice holidays.

Vase Larsen said: “Derek has been instrumental in developing Kuoni UK’s strategy, integrating the business into the Der Touristik Group and steering the business through the tough trading period of the pandemic.

“Both myself and my international colleagues would like to thank Derek for his contribution to the company’s successes and wish him all the best for his next steps both professionally and personally.”

He added: “We have an extremely experienced leader in Francis, who can seamlessly move our strategic projects forward. He has been doing a fantastic job leading our specialist brands in the UK market so the business is in safe hands.”

“We are well positioned to move our UK business forward as part of a wider group strategy and have an exciting vision for the future.

“We emerge from the pandemic with some of the best tourism brands throughout Europe and our focus now is firmly on building on our success, delivering outstanding holiday experiences for our customers and looking ahead to take advantage of new trends in travel.”

Derek Jones photograph by Steve Dunlop.

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