Richard Pennycook takes Thomas Cook non-exec role

DEPARTING WM MORRISON FD Richard Pennycook is quickly building his non-executive director portfolio, announcing a role with Thomas Cook.

It was revealed in October that Pennycook (pictured), who leaves Wm Morrison at the end of June, would take a non-executive role at The Hut Group. He is also senior independent director and chairman of the audit committee of Persimmon.

Pennycook established himself as a turnaround specialist as he delivered the seemingly impossible by restoring the City’s faith in Morrisons after its botched Safeway acquisition. He will be succeeded by Trevor Strain who is finance director corporate and has been at the supermarket chain since June 2011.

Pennycook has held a number of senior positions at listed companies. In 2005, he took the group FD role at Wm Morrison. Prior to that, he was group FD at RAC, HP Bulmer, Laura Ashley and JD Wetherspoon. He has also worked as chief executive at Welcome Break Holdings.

Thomas Cook announced in May last year that Michael Healy would take on the FD role for the business after Paul Hollingworth stepped down following completion of the travel group’s refinancing. The company completed its £1.4bn refinancing, which matures on 31 May 2015, and under the deal there are no fixed repayments.

At the time of the refinancing announcement, it was reported by Accountancy Age that the interest margin on the group’s £200m liquidity facility remains unchanged. The margin over inter-bank lending on its other facilities will increase to 3.5%. The bank will also have an amendment fee of 1% and will be granted warrants to subscribe for new ordinary shares at €0.10 per share.

Frank Meysman, chairman of Thomas Cook, said: “Richard has a wealth of financial and consumer sector experience. In addition, at Wm Morrison he was integral to its transformation following the Safeway acquisition and his specific responsibilities included multi-channel development, a key area of focus for us. I am extremely pleased that he has agreed to join the board.”

Pennycook said: “I am delighted to be joining the board of Thomas Cook, which has an esteemed heritage and a truly world-class brand. It is an exciting time to be joining, as the company undergoes a business transformation and is developing its strategy for the future.” 

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