Manchester-based online holiday retailer On the Beach Group plc (OTB) announced that founder and CEO Simon Cooper will step down from his role within the next 12 months to be succeeded Shaun Morton, currently the group’s chief financial officer (CFO).
The news came as On The Beach published results for the year to September 30, 2022, showing revenue of £144.1 million, which was £122.9 million higher than FY21.
The firm reported a profit before tax of £2.1 million compared to a loss of £36.7 million in the prior year.
“The timing of Shaun’s appointment as CEO is dependent on the recruitment of an experienced CFO to work alongside Shaun to deliver the group’s growth strategy,” said the company.
“Upon stepping down as CEO, Simon will remain on the board as a non-executive founder director …
“Simon founded On the Beach in 2004 and has grown the business into one of the UK’s leading online beach holiday retailers.
“When he takes up his new role as founder director, Simon will remain actively involved in the business and continue to work closely with Shaun.
“Simon remains a significant shareholder in On the Beach, having increased his stake on 19 August 2022.
“The board has appointed external consultants to support with a search process for a new CFO and will provide an update as and when appropriate.”
On the annual results, Cooper said: “2022 has been a year of strategic progress for the Group. Despite a number of well-documented headwinds faced by the entire industry, including the disruption caused by Omicron in the key booking period of January, the Group reported double digit growth in Group Sales, returned to profitability and exited the year in a strong cash position.
“This success is largely as a result of the investments we have made in the last 12 months across our brand, technology and customer proposition.
During the year we developed a truly differentiated customer proposition, successfully positioning the brand to appeal to customers looking at 5* bookings across both short and long haul which led to the Group capturing a greater share in the premium segment of the market. Our industry-first, customer-focused initiatives, including our free lounge and fast-track security offers have enhanced our customer experience and set us apart from our peers. We are looking forward to expanding this premium offer alongside growing our long haul and B2B offerings which significantly expands our total addressable market.
Looking ahead, the visibility of the UK outbound travel industry remains unclear given the tough macroeconomic environment. Whilst winter and specifically January remains a key trading period for us, we have started the new financial year with a healthy forward order book for Summer 2023. Pleasingly, 2023 will also be the first year our industry is free from refund credit notes and vouchers which will significantly enhance our captive audience and I am confident that the investments we have made this year leave us ideally placed for the year ahead.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team for their continuous hard work throughout this year, responding with speed, professionalism, and resilience. As we announced today, we have commenced a leadership succession plan where I am confident that after working closely with Shaun on the strategic direction and initiatives of the group over the last few years, he is the right person to lead the business through its next phase of growth.”