Where are they now? Thomas Cook’s senior comms team in new roles

A year on from Thomas Cook Group's collapse, its senior comms executives have landed roles across various sectors. PRWeek tracks them down in this special report.

Members of Thomas Cook’s senior communications team have all been employed across a range of industry sectors, less than a year after the travel and hospitality group collapsed following a major corporate crisis.

After enduring one of the most harrowing corporate comms challenges of recent times, the team has found senior roles in sectors ranging from leisure, travel and media to tobacco and banking.

This includes brands such as Dyson, Diageo, PepsiCo, Whitbread, TUI, British American Tobacco, Virgin Money and more (see full list below).

One senior executive – David Child, the former group head of marketing and communications for Thomas Cook Hotels and Resorts – has rejoined the new incarnation of Thomas Cook as its head of brand and PR.

Alice Macandrew, Thomas Cook's group corporate affairs and communications director, was the highest ranking communications leader of the team.

In recent months, she has been working as a senior adviser to Elisabeth Murdoch and her various interests.

Macandrew helped PRWeek piece together the whereabouts of her former teammates and said she was “extremely proud” of her former colleagues and “the team spirit that they maintain, even today”.

“Perhaps the clearest endorsement of the strength of that team – their experience and their skills – is the range of big brands and senior roles that they have gone on to fill since they lost their jobs,” Macandrew said.

“A sweep of senior communications roles across multiple businesses in leisure, travel, media, tobacco and banking... every single one of them has gone on to do something really strong.”

Industry recognition

Macandrew said the success of her colleagues in finding new work demonstrated the importance of corporate affairs during a crisis, and that even though the group eventually collapsed, her team’s efforts have been widely recognised across various sectors.

“If you look behind the headlines, it demonstrates the contribution that corporate affairs can make notwithstanding a business failure,” she said. 

“There is a really good lesson here. If it had been really poorly handled and we'd misled or lied, or not been transparent at every stage, they would not be in the jobs that they're now in. Clearly behind every corporate failure there is not a corporate affairs success, but one does not necessarily mean the other... and that’s a real positive.”

The last group shot of Thomas Cook's communications team before they parted ways

Thomas Cook Group's comms team

Where they are now

Alice Macandrew, former group corporate affairs and communications director at Thomas Cook, is senior adviser to Elisabeth Murdoch.

Ali Phillips, group director of internal comms at Thomas Cook, is group head of internal communications at British American Tobacco.

Matthew Magee, former group head of corporate communications at Thomas Cook, is head of media relations at Virgin Money.

David Child, group head of marketing and communications at Thomas Cook Hotels and Resorts, is head of brand and PR at the newly relaunched Thomas Cook.

Jill Duffell, group head of consumer and campaigns at Thomas Cook, is senior PR consultant at Sky.

Lorna O’Neill, head of communications for Thomas Cook’s UK airline, is founder of independent consultancy Surge Communications, working with brands including Marriott, On the Beach and Buzz Bingo.

Stephen D’Alfonso, group head of public affairs at Thomas Cook, is head of external affairs at PepsiCo UK & ROI (a mat leave cover).

Laura Askew, senior PR and campaigns manager at Thomas Cook, is head of PR at Legoland Windsor (mat leave cover).

Chris Alfred, senior manager in corporate communications at Thomas Cook, is senior communications manager, corporate at Dyson.

David Ville, head of sustainability at Thomas Cook, is head of sustainability at Whitbread (mat leave cover).

Vicki Dean, senior manager for group internal communications at Thomas Cook, is communications manager, EMEA at Illumina.

Sarah Anderson, PR manager at Thomas Cook, is PR manager at TUI.

Alice Norris, PR manager at Thomas Cook Money, is global press officer at Diageo.

Chloe White, internal communications manager at Thomas Cook, is content specialist at BGL Group.

Read next: 'It was horrific' - Alice Macandrew opens up about Thomas Cook's collapse

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