GREEN jumps ship to Thomas Cook

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TROUBLED tour operator Thomas Cook has poached Premier Farnell boss Harriet Green as its new chief executive.

The debt-laden travel company said Ms Green will succeed Sam Weihagen at the end of July.

Ms Green has been chief executive of Leeds-based electronic parts distributor Premier Farnell since 2006 during which time she turned the company into a largely ecommerce operation.

Thomas Cook’s chairman Frank Meysman said: “Harriet is an extremely successful executive with the right combination of international, business transformation and ecommerce experience that we need to take the group forward, and build on our strong reputation and brand.”

The 170-year-old travel firm had been searching for a new chief executive, after a dire 2011 when more than half a billion euros in losses culminated in the departure of Manny Fontenla-Novoa last August.

Ms Green will join Thomas Cook on July 30 at which time Mr Weihagen will step down.

Mr Weihagen will remain with Thomas Cook until September 30 to help with the transition.

Thomas Cook has warned on its profits three times in the last 18 months as civil unrest in North Africa and the economic downturn in Britain hurt bookings.

It has been forced to consider a number of fundraising proposals.

Earlier this month it agreed to sell and lease back 17 aircraft, providing £183m to ease pressure on the debt-laden travel company after its first-half loss widened.

Premier Farnell said current chief operating officer Laurence Bain would replace Ms Green as its chief executive in June.