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Published on Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thomas Cook chiefs slammed for 'passing the buck'

MPs have hit out at Thomas Cook chiefs for continually passing the buck and refusing to take responsibility for the demise of the company.

Rachel Reeves MP, leading the inquiry into Thomas Cook's collapse, said she was fed up with hearing everybody refusing to take responsibility.

"Everybody has blamed everyone apart from themselves. It would be good to see someone from Thomas Cook holding their hand up and saying 'we got it wrong and I wish we'd done it differently'," she said at a hearing yesterday.

"They never look at themselves and blame the decisions they've made. It's the volcanic ash, it's the hot weather in the UK, it's the depreciation of the pound, or it's the debt acquired by somebody else. It would be really good to hear someone from Thomas Cook say to your customers and your suppliers and your employees, some of whom are sitting here today, to hear them say 'we got it wrong' rather than just passing the buck to someone else."

Her words came as MPs grilled former CEOs Manny Fontenla-Novoa and Harriett Green and former finance chief Bill Scott about the part they had played.

Fontenla-Novoa refused to accept that his decisions to merge with MyTravel and The Cooperative Group during his leadership were wrong. His acquisition spree has been blamed by his successors for stifling the company with massive debt.

Green argued that she had begun to make progress but had been ousted by the Board before she could complete her transformation.

Last week the most recent CEO Peter Fankhauser also insisted he would not have done anything differently.

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