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  1. ITV Report

Former boss of Thomas Cook urged to return £500,000 bonus

  • Click below for Elodie Harper's report

The former boss of Thomas Cook has been told by MPs he should pay back his £500,000 bonus following the collapse of the travel company.

Peter Fankhauser was criticised for making a “hollow” apology before a committee of MPs, who challenged him over the demise of the Peterborough-based travel giant.

Peter Fankhauser, the former boss of Thomas Cook appeared before MPs.

It was up to MPs to ask the questions today, but former employees also came to make sure Thomas Cook bosses answered.

Martin Browne worked for the company for 21 years as a cabin manager.

He said: "Peter Fankhauser is coming here to give his answers and I hope he gets the scrutiny he deserves.

“I’ve not been able to pay my mortgage, not been able to pay my bills, along with thousands of other people we shouldn't have lost our jobs."

Five senior executives at Thomas Cook facing a committee of MPs.

Unsurprisingly given the intensity of public feeling, Thomas Cook's former boss had to apologise before he even got into the committee.

Mr Fankhauser said: “Me and my colleagues are still devastated about the outcome and we deeply regret that we were not able to secure the business."

Sitting before the business committee, the five former managers were asked multiple times about the huge bonuses they received and whether they would be paying them back, either to support former employees or to contribute to the cost of repatriating the 150 thousand holiday makers who were stranded abroad.

Peterborough-based Thomas Cook collapsed. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Rachel Reeves, chair of the committee, said: "I'm afraid Mr Fankhauser that the times you've said sorry ring rather hollow when you're not willing to put something back. Maybe in your reflections you can think a bit more about that."

Mr Fankhauser replied: "In my reflections I will take that back, Chair, and I will consider what is right but I'm not going to decide that today."

In spite of the apologies, Thomas Cook's management team suggested that with government support their rescue plan might have worked.

The MPs did express astonishment that a government minister did not speak to the team in the five days prior to the company's collapse.

But they were clear in their judgement on the management's failures, including not selling parts of the business or tackling its debts.

Rachel Reeves said: ”Your failure touches on a lot of other people more than it touches on the five of you.

"All of you have given your apologies, but frankly as we've seen time and time again on this select committee, apologies are the easy bit and what is the difficult bit is to actually do something about it."

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