Travelzest group finance director steps down

Travelzest group finance director Colin McKinlay has stepped down just weeks after the suspension of former chief executive Chris Mottershead.

McKinlay, who joined in April 2006, has agreed to remain on the board until June 30 to help with the changover.

John (Jack) Fraser, current chief finance officer of Canadian online travel agency iTravel2000, Travelzest’s largest subsidiary, replaces McKinlay from today.

McKinlay was previously chief financial officer of Thomas Cook UK & Ireland and prior to that spent nine years at the MyTravel Group, formerly Airtours. He was chief financial officer of MyTravel’s North American Leisure Group and worked closely with then chief executive Mottershead.

A company spokesman said a statement would be made in the near future about Mottershead, suspended last month as the group investigated a “potential misappropriation of company funds”. Interim chief executive is Jonathan Carroll, who runs itravel2000.

The news follows speculation that McKinlay and Mottershead were planning to quit the group to run TUI Travel’s Canadian operation. This followed the collapse of the sale of Travelzest last November.

TUI Travel was rumoured to be on the verge of acquiring Travelzest for £28 million before the deal was scrapped because of the economic climate.  TUI was understood to be particularly interested in Travelzest’s two Canadian businesses; luxury cruise specialist The Cruise Professionals and itravel2000 as they would allow TUI to get its first foothold in Canada.

Mottershead was managing director of TUI UK from 2002 to 2004 and previously worked in Canada when he headed up Airtours’ North America Leisure Group.

More information:

* Travelzest launches investigation into ‘potential misappropriation of funds’ (Travel Weekly, April 24, 2009)

* Travelzest deal scrapped (Travel Weekly, November 12, 2009)

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