Former British Airways executive appointed to lead Co-op Travel

Replacement for Alistair Rowland sets sights on driving growth across travel and leisure offering

Midcounties Co-operative has appointed Sara Dunham as chief officer of its travel and leisure services division.

She takes responsibility for the Co-operative Travel business, including Co-op Holidays. The business operates 78 branches, has an online presence and covers 165 personal travel agents, as well as more than 140 members of the Co-operative Travel Consortium.

Ms 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, mobile, contact centres and BA Holidays – the UK’s fifth largest tour operator.

During her time at British Airways, she delivered growth across digital channels through a focus on improving customer experience, as well as leading BA Holidays to grow revenue.    

More recently, she has delivered key strategic projects for Saga Group including the Travel businesses. 

In her new role, Ms Dunham will be responsible for further growing the Co-op Travel and Co-op Holidays businesses, by ensuring that the member experience is consistent with brand values – and by developing an omni-channel strategy.  

Midcounties CEO Phil Ponsonby said: “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, Sara’s experience will help us to further develop our offering across all channels.”

Ms Dunham said: “I am delighted to be joining such a purpose-led organisation. Being member-owned provides a unique point of difference and I look forward to working to deepen the experience we offer to members and customers.”

Sara replaces Alistair Rowland, who left Midcounties last year to head up Blue Bay Travel.