Ex Tesco boss becomes chair at Travel Counsellors
Matt Davies, the ex-UK chief of Tesco, has been named the non-executive chairman of fast-growing travel company Travel Counsellors.
Mr Davies has been responsible for the success of retail consumer brands including Pets at Home and Halfords. In 2015, he was appointed CEO of Tesco’s UK business, and was integral to the firm’s recent turnaround, culminating in the completion of a £3.7bn takeover of wholesaler Booker Group earlier this year. Having left Tesco following the completion of the transaction, he became one of the FTSE 350’s youngest chairman after being named chair of online retailer N Brown in February 2018.
The appointment of Mr Davies comes as Travel Counsellors announces its 12th consecutive year of double-digit revenue growth, with average annual Turnover growth of 18% over the past five years. In the year to 31st October 2017, total accounting turnover for the business rose to £217m, up 15 per cent on the £188m seen the year before. These figures have been boosted by a strong start to 2018, with the business reporting that total bookings rose 12 per cent in the first half of the year to hit £328m, and sales this year are on track to be in excess of £600m.
The news also comes as the company were last week recognised at the British Venture Capital Association’s Awards, being named the BVCA Management Team of the Year for the second year running. In June the company completed a secondary buyout backed by Vitruvian Partners. The transaction, which resulted in an exit for Equistone Partners Europe, will see the business continue to invest heavily in its in-house technology platforms, with more than £6m set aside to spend on IT developments and upgrades in 2018.
Founded in Manchester in 1994, Travel Counsellors has grown to become a global travel company, providing bespoke holiday and corporate travel packages to over 450,000 customers each year. The company acts as a platform for its franchisees, with more than 1,800 self-employed Travel Counsellors working flexibly from home. This model is underpinned by the company’s proprietary technology platform, Phenix, which assists each Travel Counsellor to run their business and deliver high levels of personal service to both leisure and business customers. Its franchisees are supported by a 400-strong, global team, with UK operations delivered from headquarters in Manchester.
Matt Davies, non-executive chairman at Travel Counsellors, said: “I’m delighted to be joining Travel Counsellors as Chairman and I’m really looking forward to supporting Steve and the team in delivering world class travel experiences to customers across the globe. I have never met a team with such passion, energy and commitment to delivering for their customers and as obsessive about putting its people and customers at the epicentre of everything it does.”
Steve Byrne, chief executive at Travel Counsellors, said: “Over the course of his career, Matt has had a transformational impact on the retail sector, creating new standards of quality and building household names. This track record, combined with his commitment to customer service and passion for putting people at the heart of a business, makes him the ideal non-executive chairman for Travel Counsellors.
“We will continue to focus on attracting, developing and building a team of the very best talent to enable the company to scale, alongside the development of our technology platform to operate on a much bigger stage. Matt’s guidance, knowledge and experience will prove invaluable on this journey, as we strive to improve the level of service provided to both our franchisees and customers.”
About Travel Counsellors
Founded in 1994, Travel Counsellors is the world’s largest home-based travel company with over 1,800 self-employed travel consultants and a global support team of over 400 staff. The company is headquartered in Manchester U.K, with operations in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Travel Counsellors Australia Pty Ltd. was established in 2007. Today, nearly 150 Travel Counsellors run their own travel business from home with the support of a Melbourne based Head Office. Travel Counsellors Australia is proud to be a full member of IATA and AFTA and is accredited with ATAS and CLIA.