Former British Airways Executive Appointed to Lead Co-op Travel
Published 3 Feb 2021 in Society Announcements
The Midcounties Co-operative, one of the UK’s largest independent consumer co-operatives, has appointed Sara Dunham as Chief Officer - Travel and Leisure Services. Sara joins the Executive team at Midcounties & takes responsibility for the Co-operative Travel business, including Co-op Holidays, the fast-growing tour operator. The business operates 78 branches, has a strong digital presence, and covers 165 Personal Travel Agents as well as more than 140 members of the Co-operative Travel Consortium.
Dunham joins Midcounties with close to 20 years’ experience in the travel industry. She spent almost 15 years in a variety of senior roles at British Airways, across the airline and tour operating divisions. Her roles included leading the development of British Airway’s direct to consumer business with responsibility for BA.com, mobile, contact centres, and BA Holidays – the UK’s fifth-largest tour operator. More recently she has delivered key strategic projects for Saga Group including the Travel businesses.
During her time at British Airways Sara delivered growth across digital channels through a focus on improving customer experience, as well as leading BA Holidays to grow revenue.
In her new role, Dunham will be responsible for further growing the Co-op Travel and Co-op Holidays businesses, by ensuring that the Members’ experience across the Travel & Leisure operations is consistent with brand values & developing a true omnichannel strategy and approach.
Phil Ponsonby, Chief Executive at The Midcounties Co-operative said: “Travel and leisure services are an important part of our long-term strategy and we are thrilled to be welcoming Sara to drive the next stage of growth across our Travel and Leisure offering. In these particularly challenging times for the sector, delivering the best possible customer experience will be crucial and Sara’s experience will help us to further develop our offering across all channels and in particular to strengthen the relationship with our 700,000 members and support their needs across a broader range of travel and leisure services."
Sara Dunham, said: “Co-operative Travel has an incredibly strong reputation in the market and I am delighted to be joining such a purpose-led organisation. Being member-owned provides a unique point of difference for the Society and I look forward to working with the Board and Phil as well as the Executive team to deepen the experience we offer to members and customers. I am really excited to meet what I know are brilliant Coop travel and Coop Holidays teams in addition to our really important consortium partners and personal travel agents."
Sara Dunham replaces Alistair Rowland, who left Midcounties last year to head up Blue Bay travel which continues to enjoy membership of the Co-operative Travel Consortium which she will also have Executive responsibility for.