Coles-Barrasso returns as Thomas Cook chief

The UK's second-biggest holiday firm Thomas Cook has brought back its former director of worldwide PR and comms Alexis Coles-Barrasso amid reports that the company might be sold.

Coles-Barrasso (nee Coles), who left Thomas Cook in 2003 after 12 years with the company, rejoined the group as UK director of corporate communications this Tuesday.

She originally left after the company moved its headquarters from London to Peterborough.

She told PRWeek her reappearance at Thomas Cook after two years running her own consultancy would not affect the travel agent's head of PR, Bronwen Griffiths, who joined the company from P&O as Thomas Cook's most senior PRO last year (PRWeek, 2 July 2004).

'Our CEO (Manny Fontenla-Novoa) is looking for a realistic way that PR and internal comms can be better integrated,' Coles-Barrasso said. 'We will use Bronwen's skills effectively.'

Thomas Cook is jointly owned by German airline Lufthansa and retailer KarstadtQuelle.

KarstadtQuelle chief executive Thomas Middelhoff said last month the company would not sell its 50 per cent stake in Thomas Cook, reiterating Lufthansa/ KarstadtQuelle's previous denial of an FT Deutschland report that moves to sell the company were well under way.

The relative success of Thomas Cook's UK arm compared with the rest of the business in recent years has led to speculation that Fontenla-Novoa might lead a UK MBO of the company.

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