Wednesday 12 December 2018

Saga reshuffles pack following profit warning

The company said that managing director of tour operations Jeannette Linfoot left the business last month.

Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jade

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Over-50s travel and insurance firm Saga has embarked on a management shake-up following a December profit warning.

The company said that managing director of tour operations Jeannette Linfoot left the business last month.

Robin Shaw, meanwhile, has been appointed to the new role of chief executive of Saga Travel after a restructure that will see tour and cruise operations combine.

Also as part of the reshuffle, Gary Duggan has taken over from Roger Ramsden as chief executive of Saga Services.

Mr Ramsden was due to take up a new role within the group but this will now “not be taken forward following the review”, Saga said, adding he will leave in the first quarter.

Saga boss Lance Batchelor said: “These changes provide us with a more focused executive team as we target and invest in growth in the Saga customer base to achieve our long-term ambitions.”

The reshuffle comes after Saga warned the collapse of airline Monarch had hit earnings and said efforts to attract new customers will see next year’s profits fall.

The group said Monarch’s demise in October, which saw holidays cancelled for around 860,000 people, had knocked its tour operations business, leaving it with a £2 million one-off hit.

Saga said this would now slow growth in underlying pre-tax profits to between 1% and 2% for the year to January 31, down from more than 5% in the first half.

There was further gloom for the new financial year as the group added that a plan to invest an extra £10 million a year into attracting new customers, alongside other “headwinds”, would see underlying profits fall by around 5%.

Shares tanked on the news, falling as much as a quarter at one stage to hit their lowest level since its stock market flotation in May 2014.

As well as the Monarch blow, Saga also said its insurance arm suffered difficult trading in the home and travel divisions, with earned profit for retail broking expected to fall “marginally” over the current financial year.

Press Association

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