Virgin poaches Airtours director

Virgin Holidays has appointed Airtours purchasing director Amanda Wills to managing director. She replaces Ron Simms, who is due to retire at the end of the summer.

Wills will have ultimate responsibility for marketing at the holiday group, and sales and marketing director Kathryn Street will report to her.

Wills spent 14 years at Airtours, where she managed the UK annual purchasing budget covering 6.5 million holidaymakers.

Simms, who founded Virgin Holidays 16 years ago, says he is “looking forward to taking a few more holidays instead of organising them for others”.

Manning Gottlieb Media was appointed to the £2m media buying and planning account for Virgin Holidays in February this year. MediaVest had handled the account as part of a full-service partnership with D’Arcy, which ended in June 2000. Creative work is done in house.

Manning Gottlieb also handles Virgin Energy, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Atlantic, the Virgin group’s airline. Earlier this month Virgin Travelstore, the online travel agent, announced plans to launch a chain of high street travel agencies (MW June 14).

The first store has already opened near London’s Victoria station, with a further nine planned within three years. The high street presence comes just weeks after Travelstore unveiled a new online design.

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