By the time this edition of Pulse is out, we will be in the middle of various events that will not only change the very character of our group, but it will also change some of the practices we have followed for a long time in the Indian Business.
In 2017, we formally entered into an agreement with Kuoni Investments, Switzerland, to acquire their Destination Management Business, better known in our company as the Inbound business. The Business, spread over 18 countries and four continents, spanning Australia, South East Asia, China, Middle East, Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and North America, will add nearly 1150 employees, and six Brands, to the family. The Thomas Cook Group will now have three distinct business lines, Foreign Exchange, Tour operators (Outbound) and Destination Management Specialists. This will truly make us a Group with a Global Footprint. This acquisition will obviously bring benefits in the form of synergies, scale and the ability to meet the broader needs of our Customers. I would like to congratulate Mahesh Iyer, Dipak Deva, Debasis Nandy, Ram Kenkare, Hemant Vora and Amit Parekh for their efforts. I would also like to thank Harsha Raghavan and Sumit Maheshwari of Fairbridge Capital for helping us with the negotiations.
Project Lakshya, better known as the ZBO/ZBB project within Thomas Cook India and SOTC, is well into execution and the benefits in the form of greater productivity have already started to appear. The Accenture team which was housed within TC/SOTC for months has recently completed its job, and has left it to us to harvest the benefits of the exercise. This is likely to begin a process that will change the way we operate, for years to come. My congratulations to the entire team led by Mona Cheriyan, Deepesh Varma, Mahesh Iyer, Vishal Suri and their respective teams for their untiring efforts.
On July 01, 2017 India embarked on the biggest tax reform in more than three decades of creating a unified market with the introduction of “GST”. This is so far reaching that it will impact each citizen and each business unit across the Country. This will completely change the way taxes are accessed and collected, and subsume all the indirect taxes like Service Tax, VAT etc. that exist today. Many see this as another disruption, for it is likely to take some time to settle down. At Thomas Cook, a Team led by Debasis Nandy supported by many people across TCIL/SOTC and SITA have been preparing for this day for over a year now.
Lastly, I would like to announce some changes in the organisation, with Mahesh Iyer being appointed the CEO of the Thomas Cook India Business, Debasis Nandy being appointed Group CFO, Brijesh Modi being appointed CFO of Thomas Cook India Limited, and Nitin Menon being appointed the CFO of SOTC. I would also like to welcome Laurent Kuenzle CEO of Asian Trails Group, Peter Payet CEO of Desert Adventures Tourism, Monika Luel CEO of Private Safaris Cape Town, Southern Africa, Alexander Spiro CEO of Private Safaris Eastern Africa, and Mark Morello CEO of AlliedTPRO, and their respective colleagues into the Thomas Cook Family.
With best wishes,