Jim Armitage: When the dust has settled, Thomas Cook will still have a tough task


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The Independent Online

Outlook Harriet Green got the gig running Thomas Cook by cold calling the chairman and saying: “You need me.”

Frank Meysman has clearly decided that, two years into a regime of terror for the thousands of staff she has culled, he now needs her a little less.

Ms Green, who recently boasted in a glossy magazine profile of her gruelling six-days-a-week gym programme, has undoubtedly been an impressive chief executive for shareholders – the company’s stock has surged tenfold under her muscular tenure.

But the trading figures yesterday suggest that, while the turnaround phase is well under way, with all the explosive profit that engendered, future growth will be far harder to find. Now, a less ruthless, dare I say it, duller, operations man will pilot the Thomas Cook plane through years of slower growth in a deteriorating trading environment.

Hardly an inspiration for investors.

As for Ms Green, expect her Gucci heels to be stomping around another business in urgent need of an urgent turnaround sooner than you’d think.