“I don’t know the travel industry well,” the new boss of Thomas Cook admits. CEO Harriet Green, who has a background successfully running Premier Farnell, an electronic company, will join the board on July 30. She said on a BBC radio program that although she did not know much about the travel sector, there are similarities with her former job.
“There are a number of linkages. The transformation we did at Premier Farnell was around internationalising the business from just being in the mature markets. It’s also about taking a business that didn’t serve its customers via the web to a [much] larger percentage via the web. I do not know the travel industry well, but I have been travelling most of my life – I’ve lived and worked on four continents – travel and exploration is something which I can understand as a consumer.”
Asked about the challenges she faces at Thomas Cook, she replied: “As I haven’t started yet, I’m not exactly sure. But I think as I describe some of the opportunities it will be a combination of all of those; the needs of the customers; really getting the brand to work across all of the key markets; the web and how it works with the other channels.”
Asked whether she had been brought in to “manage decline and wind it down”, she responded: “If it was [the case] I don’t think anyone would have picked me, and I don’t see it as that at all. The role is to return the Thomas Cook group to its extraordinary position with this brand that is loved and respected, and to serve customers globally as well as we can.”
[photo courtesy Premier Farnell]