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Published on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook chiefs join Barrhead

Chris Mottershead, Kathryn Darbandi and Nicki Tempest-Mitchell have joined the project team of Travel Leaders Group to help lead the nationwide expansion of Barrhead Travel.

Travel Leaders Group, which acquired the Glasgow-based agency chain in February 2018, plans to add up to 100 Barrhead stores.

A UK-wide recruitment drive to hire former Thomas Cook employees is already underway and the expansion team will work strategically to implement new store openings across the country.

Mottershead, who was chief of product and operations at Thomas Cook, has also worked for Aspro Travel Ltd., Airtours Holidays, TUI UK, and Travelzest.

Darbandi and Tempest-Mitchell will work alongside Mottershead.

They also worked for Thomas Cook, TUI UK and Royal Caribbean International.

"Chris, Kathryn and Nicki have an extensive knowledge of the travel retail industry and are very well placed to identify the locations and teams necessary to create a successful retail footprint across the UK," said Travel Leaders Group chairman Mike Batt.

Barrhead Travel president Jacqueline Dobson added: "Chris and the expansion team will bring valuable insights and experience to help extend Barrhead Travel's quality service to new communities and we look forward to the first of many new store openings under this initiative. It is gratifying to see that they reflect our group values: prizing people development, customer experience and dedication to the High Street travel agent."

Catherine Finlan and Phil Hudson-Evans, recently additions to the expansion team, have already begun working on the logistics of opening stores, recruitment and training for the new stores.

Other recently-hired Thomas Cook employees are currently undergoing specially-devised training programmes in Barrhead's Glasgow Training Academy.

"As well as taking on former Thomas Cook employees within our existing store-network, we are actively recruiting in new areas across the UK," said Dobson.

"We have identified a number of locations and are currently in negotiations to secure premises. The former Thomas Cook employees are hugely talented and we are keen to work with them to reopen new state-of-the-art stores in their local communities as soon as possible."

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