Russell takes top job at Vertical Systems

A major shake-up has seen the role of chief executive created for Vertical Systems, the technology arm of the Vertical Group which runs the TARSC travel agent software.

Mike Russell, founder and managing director of Holiday Experts, acquired by the group in 2009, has taken on the new role following a period as acting group chief financial officer.

He will have responsibility for the technology side of the business and the finances of the wider group. Russell said: “The Vertical Group is a very successful business, but has slipped back a little in recent years by losing its focus on bringing the very best, innovative solutions to the travel industry. 

“My key objective is to roll out the many new products that have been developed but, as yet not delivered to the wider audience and to ensure that Vertical Group’s products continue to develop and evolve. 

“I aim to bring the latest technology to travel agents of all sizes to ensure that they can compete at the highest level in an industry that is becoming more and more concentrated by huge, technologically superior businesses.”

He added: “Our developers have the skill and resources to produce the best websites, booking systems and other technology products which will really lead the market, many of which we currently use in our own B2C travel brands. They are high quality and capable of generating large volumes of business.”

The vacancy left at Holiday Experts has been filled by Sue Dennis, who has many years’ experience in homeworking having previously worked for The Co-operative Travel.

The restructuring supports the forward plans of the business which includes B2B accommodation-only supplier as well as the B2C brands of home-working operation Holiday Experts, hotel partnership distribution business VHI and Miss Ellies Travel, the Manchester-based travel agency. 

Group chief executive Peter Healey said: “The recent economic challenges have forced us to look at our business structure to ensure we focus on the right areas to develop our business further. 

“We launched TARSC in 1983 and this has evolved to meet the needs of today’s travel agent.  However, we have many more exciting products close to launch and I am delighted that Mike will be here to bring them to market.

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