Thomson takes on independents

Thomson, Britain’s biggest holiday company, is taking on independent tour operators in the skiing, mountain, and citybreak sectors by setting up a new venture, Thomson Breakaway.

The company will be headed by Thomson commercial director Steve Garley, who already has direct management responsibility for Thomson brands operating in these sectors. Lee Ormesher becomes sales and marketing manager of Thomson Breakaway.

Thomson estimates its current modest sales volumes across the three niche sectors at between 150,000 and 200,000 holidays.

A company spokesman says: “Thomson Breakaway will operate as a standalone company with its own profit and loss account, totally separate from the operating structure of the core business.

“It should have the flexibility to build these businesses more quickly and be more aggressive than if it was included in the core Thomson business. All of these businesses are relatively small – we want them to be much bigger.”

The restructuring means Shaun Powell, marketing director at Thomson, will now become marketing and commercial director. He will report to managing director Richard Bowden-Doyle.

Powell will also take over marketing responsibility for Thomson’s cruise line business and direct sales operation, Portland Direct. These units have previously reported to Garley.

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