Just hours after Thomas Cook went out of business, it’s been revealed the firm’s top bosses were paid more than £20 million in bonuses over the past five years.
The British global travel group officially ceased trading in the early hours of this morning (September 23), leaving hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded.
But despite long-term fears that the company faced collapse in recent years, having struggled to compete with cheaper online operators, its bosses appear to have been making money regardless.
Chief financial officers Michael Healy and Bill Scott – the latter of whom only started working for the company towards the beginning of last year – have together been paid around £7 million since 2014.
And more than £4 million has been paid to non-executive directors, including Belgian chairman Frank Meysman who has taken home £1.6 million.
Although these figures provide a sharp contrast to the situation Thomas Cook staff now find themselves in – with thousands facing the loss of their jobs – insiders are adamant Fankhauser at least is deserving of the money, having turned the company around in difficult circumstances.
When he took over in 2014, the company was in dire financial straits – yet its new chief executive managed to bring it back into profitability in 2015. For the next three years, Thomas Cook remained profitable.
However, over the past year, following England’s hottest summer on record in 2018, thousands of potential customers instead decided to holiday at home rather than purchase flights elsewhere. This, along with Brexit uncertainty and the resulting fall in the value of the pound, contributed to the gradual collapse of the company.
The loss of the firm, which has been providing holidays for 178 years, puts approximately one million people who have future bookings with Thomas Cook in uncertain territory. As per the Independent, although the majority of passengers will get a full refund for their holiday, this process could take months.
The 150,000 British holidaymakers who are currently abroad on a Thomas Cook holiday are in a more favourable position, with the government assuring them they will be brought back under an exercise called ‘Operation Matterhorn’.
This will see 40 aircraft on standby to operate hundreds of flights, with almost all of the passengers likely to be flown home on the day they were expecting to return.
However, the collapse of the firm will have the greatest impact on its 21,000 staff – the majority of whom were powerless to do anything about the current situation and who now face the loss of their jobs.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).