Holidayline UK, parent company of leading online travel agency Directline Holidays, has appointed Maria Whiteman as its new chief executive.
The former managing director of Travel2 has been handed an “open remit” to shape the future of the company, with co-founders Tony Bradley and Matthew Flint moving to chairman and non-executive director positions respectively.
Whiteman left Travel2 after two and half years in November 2008 and joined Southall Travel-owned The Holiday Team as a consultant director in January 2009.
She previously ran the Hays & Jarvis tour operating business and was also product and purchasing director of Air Miles.
The Holidayline business includes Directline Holidays and five other standalone OTAs including sites for hotels, city breaks, skiing, flights and cruises.
Flint said: “We’ve enjoyed 16 years’ sustainable and profitable growth but the time has now come for new leadership and fresh ideas.
“We are extremely pleased that Maria has joined us and looking forward to all the benefits that her experience will bring.”
Directline Holidays was formed in 1993 as a call centre-based business. The first website was launched in 2000 and has quickly established itself as one of the top OTAs in the UK alongside Ebookers and Opodo in web traffic market share.
Whiteman said “It will be a great challenge to take over the running of a very successful business from the original owners and to accelerate its growth and expansion into new product areas.
“I am looking forward to working in a dynamic, consumer-driven business that has a very strong senior team in place.”
The company is expected to reach annual revenues across the group of £61.2 million by November 2009, a jump of 50% from £41.5 million in 2008.
Bradley said: “The current performance of the company and the appointment of Maria Whiteman signal a very encouraging future for the company and its employees.”