Thomas Cook chief executive goes after profit warning

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The Thomas Cook Group, which encompasses five leisure airlines throughout Europe, has parted company with its chief executive following the poor performance of its UK inclusive tours operation.

Manny Fontenla-Novoa has stepped down with immediate effect. His deputy, Sam Weihagen, becomes interim chief executive while the organisation seeks to identify a permanent replacement.

A company spokesman said that Fontenla-Novoa had resigned after the board and he had had an opportunity to review events leading up to a profit warning issued in June. It was felt that a change of management was appropriate.

The Group made an underlying profit of £20.1 million ($32.8 million) on revenue of £2.44 billion for the three months to the end of June 2011. This compared with a £25.8 million underlying profit on £2.15 billion revenue for the same period a year previously. The Group made a loss before tax of £56.7 million for the latest quarter compared to a loss of £116.6 million for the equivalent quarter in 2010.

The Group has separate airline operations covering the UK, Belgium, Scandinavia and Germany. The Group's Airlines Germany operation, comprising Condor Flugdienst and Condor Berlin, was singled out as one part of the organisation showing a particularly encouraging performance.