Thomas Cook’s new chief backs technology as path to recovery

City A.M. Reporter
THOMAS Cook’s new chief executive yesterday said technology would be the salvation of the struggling British tour operator and gave herself nine months to deliver a turnaround plan to end over a year of poor performance.

The company posted an underlying operating loss of £26.5m in the three months ended June, versus a profit of £20.1m in the same period last year despite a lift in foreign bookings from Britons exasperated with rainy weather at home.

Harriet Green, who joined from electronic parts distributor Premier Farrell said she would be able to “bring a fresh pair of eyes” to existing industry problems.

“In my view of business, all roads ultimately lead to technology,” she added.

Thomas Cook, which has struggled with tough trading conditions, said foreign holiday bookings had picked up in recent weeks after subdued demand in April and May, as the sodden summer drove north Europeans to seek the sun in the south.

UK bookings as of 29 July were flat versus the same time last year, while bookings in central Europe were one per cent higher, boosted by demand from Germany.

Net debt at 30 June was £1.01bn, versus £902.5m last year. It expects to complete the sale of its Indian unit later this month.