Virgin poaches Airtours chief

Virgin.com has poached Ed Sims from holiday giant Airtours to be the deputy managing director of its online travel business.

Sims, Airtours sales, marketing and development director, will join Virgin.com/travel in October.

He has been at Airtours for 18 months and was previously with Austravel and Unijet.

Sims will have overall responsibility for marketing and will report to managing director Ian Brooks.

Virgin.com’s travel arm will launch in September, with an undisclosed marketing budget. Brooks is seeing pitches from creative and media agencies and expects to make appointments within a month.

He declined to say how Virgin.com’s travel service will be branded when it launches.

Brooks says: “Sims will bring a breadth of experience from both the package holiday market and the ever-growing independent traveller market.”

Virgin.com/travel has also appointed Andy Owen-Jones, general manager of Virgin Atlantic IT and HR, as commercial director, and Chris Birch – previously responsible for Virgin Atlantic’s online strategy – as head of business development.

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