Published on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thomas Cook PR chiefs quit

Thomas Cook head of PR Ian Benjafield and his deputy, Yasmina Cherquaoui, are leaving the company.

A statement said the pair have decided to quit following the announcement of a restructure of the communications team last month.

It said the restructure will more closely integrate all comms disciplines across the Group, 'up-weighting the corporate communications capability and bringing consumer and corporate communications together into one external communications team in the UK'.

Thomas Cook said the pair were offered senior roles within this new structure, but both have taken the decision to decline and will be leaving the business later this month.

Alice Macandrew, who joined as group director of communications in November, said: "Ian and Yasmina have made a really significant contribution to Thomas Cook. I am personally very sorry to see them go and would like to thank them for all that they have done to rebuild the PR function in the UK. I know how much hard work and commitment this has taken."

Thomas Cook put together the new senior PR team last autumn, heralding a fresh start for the company.

The division was overhauled in the wake of widespread criticism over the way it handled the deaths of two children in Corfu.

Benjafield, who had been a PR consultant to Thomas Cook since April 2013 and previously worked for TUI and Disneyland Paris, was promoted.

Joining as his deputy was Cherquaoui, formerly head of UK and European PR for Sandals Resorts International, along with PR manager Louise Evans and senior press officer Sarah Anderson.

Introducing the new team during the ABTA Convention in Greece in October, UK managing director Chris Mottershead said Thomas Cook was ready to move on from a 'torrid' four years and this was the 'start of the next chapter'.

The communications team had undergone another restructure at the end of 2012 as part of a management shake-up by Peter Fankhauserat, and had also been overhauled under the leadership of former CEO Harriet Green.

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