INTERNATIONAL: C&N Touristic Travel Group appoints head of comms

OBERURSEL: The German C&N Touristic Travel Group - which bought out

Thomas Cook last year - has appointed Rolf Dieter Grass as head of


The appointment comes a month before the Europe-wide rebranding of the

group as Thomas Cook AG.

Grass currently works as the investor relations head of a

Frankfurt-based technology group, mg technologies, and will join C&N at

its Oberursel HQ in October.

He will report to C&N chief executive Stefan Pichler and oversee a team

of ten PROs in Germany. Grass will co-ordinate various communications

strategies with regional PR teams across its core European markets.

Pichler's brief also includes IR.

C&N's outgoing head of communications, Gerd Leidinger, is leaving for

personal reasons, according to a company spokesman.

C&N paid pounds 550m for the 160-year-old Thomas Cook brand late last


The buy-out means that the combined group has overtaken Airtours to

become Europe's second largest tour operator after Preussag, with annual

sales of pounds 4.6bn.

At the time of the takeover, Pichler said his goal was to become

Europe's largest package holiday operator. 'I hate to be number two. Of

course we will outdo Preussag,' he said.

He claimed C&N would spend a year 'bedding down' its acquisitions, which

include France's Havas Voyages, before further expansion.

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