Richard Sofer is new managing director of Thomson Cruises

 Richard Sofer is the new managing director of Thomson Cruises Richard Sofer is the new managing director of Thomson Cruises

TUI UK & Ireland announced two new appointments for its distribution and cruise business: Richard Sofer is the new managing director of Thomson Cruises and Mark Bather is the new retail director, both starting with immediate effect and both reporting to portfolio director Helen Caron.

Sofer joins from GLH Hotels, with his most recent role being chief executive of Thistle & every hotels while Bather joins from Telefonica o2 where he was head of stores for the UK and Ireland, leading the retail estate and managing commercial and trade.

Sofer is tasked with driving the performance of the Thomson Cruises business and deliver the modernisation plan, which will see three ships join the fleet in the next three years.  

Bather leads the 600-strong retail estate to deliver customer service and develop the future of the retail estate for TUI UK and Ireland. He enjoyed a 26-year career with Tesco in senior management position before joining Telefonica o2 in 2014.

Caron said: 'Richard and Mark are both great hires for our business, bringing with them a wealth of experience from senior roles at some of Britain’s leading businesses.  This external influence and experience will prove invaluable as we continue with our growth and modernisation plans for our business.

'Richard will lead the cruise team during the next stage of our modernisation strategy, with a focus on continually improving the customer experience delivering tailored and contemporary end-to-end experiences for our customers.' One of his first engagments with the cruise industry will be at Seatrade Cruise Med in Tenerife next week where he will attending with other Thomson Cruises collagues.

Sofer spent five years with GLH Hotels across a number of senior roles including a member of the executive board and responsible for the development and launch of new hotel brands, as well as being accountable for the profits on existing hotels. Before that, he spent five years with Home Retail Group across a number of senior finance roles, with responsibility for the management of a £1bn cost base, full accounting for 750 stores and planning and management of the £100m capex transformational rebrand project.  Prior to this, he spent a further five years with Whitbread across a number of finance roles, developing strategic agendas and improving operating brands performance, across the Pub restaurant, hotels (Premier Inn) and Health Club (David Lloyd) businesses.

Posted 14 September 2016

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Mary Bond

Managing director publishing and content at Seatrade