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06 Dec 2017

BY Jennifer Morris


Freedom swaps division

The head of The Freedom Travel Group has insisted the group’s move to sit under Thomas Cook’s commercial team will have no impact on members or homeworkers.

Freedom conference banner.jpg

“We have always been a northern-based business and that is where the skill is, so it makes sense to keep it there”

It was announced last week that Kelly Cookes will now report to Phil Gardner, Thomas Cook UK and Ireland head of commercial, sales and relations.

“Historically, Freedom sat under the finance area of the business… [which wasn’t necessarily] the right fit,” said Cookes.


“Operationally there will be no change to Freedom. Phil and I have always worked closely together, but this gives me more opportunity for that, and working with other areas that fall under his remit, like commercial negotiations.

“It’s another step which shows the business is considering what’s best for Freedom.”

In June Freedom relocated to a new office in the Deansgate area of Manchester. “We have always been a northern-based business and that is where the skill is, so it makes sense to keep it there,” Cookes added.

Gardner said: “Kelly still runs Freedom and it is managed separately. It’s a change in reporting line, and the great news is that Kelly brings her outlook to my leadership team.”

He added: “Freedom is a separate arm within the business for suppliers to consider. It benefits from the buying power of Thomas Cook.” Gardner stressed however that his role involves balancing distribution across all partners.

Cookes added: “Being an independently owned business, yet being affiliated with a larger group, should have benefits, like the commercials we can give.”

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