Dec 30, 2020

New Year Honours 2021: Hays Travel boss Irene Hays made a dame

Hays Travel boss Irene Hays has been made a dame in the New Year's Honours. Dame Irene said before the Thomas Cook acquisition that 47% of Hays Travel senior managers had started as apprentices at the firm. Hundreds of mourners lined the streets of Sunderland to pay their respects to Mr Hays at his funeral, which also saw several buildings around the city lit up in the company's colours of orange and blue. Before it took on hundreds of Thomas Cook shops, Hays had 190 stores, 1,900 staff, and sales of £379m, reporting profits of £10m. At the time Mr Hays described the purchase as "a game-changer" which almost trebled the firm's number of shops and doubled its workforce. Hays Travel said it had a two-year turnaround plan in place, and that although 2020 "Looked really bad", bookings for 2021 were already up on the same period in 2019.

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