It is the government’s fault

By | Category: Travel rumblings

That seemed to be what the former chairman of Thomas Cook, Frank Meysman, told the Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy this morning.

When asked by the committee chair, Rachel Reeves MP, about why Thomas Cook collapsed, Meysman said he didn’t know but suggested that the company would have survived if the British Government had guaranteed either a £150m to £250m loan, pressuring the parties together and, in the case of insolvency, allow the firm to use the infrastructure to bring people back. With that, the investors, bondholders and banks would have supported the company.

When he said that, you could almost see the incredulity on the face of Reeves. Her jaw didn’t quite hit the floor but you could see that her mind was wondering whether Meysman believed he lived on the same planet as everyone else.

She did ask Meysman a couple of times whether he understood what had happened!

A little later the former CEO, Peter Fankhauser, said that if the government had backed the plan, the company would have survived. He believed that the amount for which the government would be involved would be less than the collapse of the company would cost.

The members of the committee grilled five senior company executives this morning but concentrated questions were aimed at Meysam and Fankhauser. As was expected, apologies and sorrow was forthcoming but self-blame for the debacle was thin on the ground amongst the five.

In answer to questions about how was it that the Insolvency Service was able to sell the shops so quickly yet Thomas Cook couldn’t and why the company didn’t more quickly see the assets there was some waffly answers.

But to blame the government was really taking the biscuit? Should people of this calibre run public companies?

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