Published on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Hays Travel appoints new COO following John's death


Hays Travel has moved swiftly to appoint Jonathon Woodall as Chief Operating Officer following the sudden death of founder and managing director John Hays last week.

The company said Jonathon will work with the Board and the senior leadership team to take forward the two-year business plan 'as John and Irene intended'.

Jonathon (above) joined Hays Travel in 2004 and worked closely with John for more than 16 years, said Hays.

He has held positions across the group, including Finance Manager, Head of Independence Group and Head of Commercial. Hays said he has played a key role in major acquisitions, which include Thomas Cook's retail chain last year and more recently Tailor Made Travel.

Irene Hays, John's widow and the company's Chair said: "John was proud of the career success of our loyal, committed and talented people. Jonathon has excelled since he started, and while the circumstances of his promotion are not what anyone would have ever wanted, he has the confidence and support of everyone in the business."

Jonathon said: "I am privileged to take John's legacy forward alongside all of the people in Hays Travel who want to do the same. Although these are challenging times for the travel industry, we have strong plans in place.

"Irene and I will continue to reach for excellence in the way we look after our people, our customers and our suppliers."

The Board, which had consisted of a total of just four directors prior to John' death, will be further strengthened with the appointment of John Milburn, currently Head of Homeworking and Telesales, who will become Marketing and Homeworking Director, and Mark Hatton, former senior partner at Ernst & Young, who will take up a non-executive role.

They join Irene, Jane Schumm, Director of Retail, and Claire Maith, Group Finance Director.

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