Cheapflights appoints UK GM

Francesca Ecsery-Merrens will join the Cheapflighyts as General Manager, United Kingdom with effect from 1 August 2007.

Based in London, Francesca will report directly to Chris Cuddy, Cheapflights’ Group Managing Director.  Francesca comes to Cheapflights with in-depth knowledge and experience of the travel industry gained over fourteen years.  She was most recently Managing Director, International Division, of STA Travel, the student and under-26 travel company whose business extends over 76 countries, 32 of which were secured under her leadership.

She also built STA’s presence in the Chinese market place into a contributor to group profits and, in addition, led STA’s travel ventures in Africa.

Prior to STA, she was Group Managing Director of IfYouTravel.com and previously held senior management and marketing roles at AirTours (MyTravel), Going Places and also Thomas Cook.  Francesca has also worked at McKinsey & Co followed by Pepsico where she held positions in marketing and promotions.

A graduate of Geneva University in Political Science and International Relations, Francesca is also a Graduate of the Harvard Business School.  She is an accomplished linguist, speaking English, French, Portuguese, Hungarian, Spanish and Italian.

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Commenting, Cheapflights’ Group Managing Director Chris Cuddy said:

“We are impressed as much by Francesca’s business and travel industry experience as with her evident energy and enthusiasm which she has clearly applied successfully in her career to date.  Francesca’s appointment comes at a time when Cheapflights has secured a leading position in online flight price search and comparison on both sides of the Atlantic.  Cheapflights is now pursuing further international expansion.  Hence her appointment will enable CEO David Soskin and Vice Chairman and Head of International, Hugo Burge to focus on this planned internationalisation of Cheapflights.”

CEO David Soskin added:  “We have created a successful international internet brand.  Our business has grown from a tiny Wandsworth attic over the past eleven years without recourse to external funding. One of the key reasons for achieving our success to date has been recruiting the people with the energy and enthusiasm to achieve our strategy goals.  In welcoming Francesca to her challenging new role at Cheapflights, I recognise in her the qualities we require to drive our UK business further forward as we also accelerate our international growth.”

Francesca Ecsery-Merrens added: “Cheapflights is one of the best established internet travel brands.  It has successfully met the ever-changing challenges of this dynamic and exciting market sector.  I am looking forward to working with the team at Cheapflights whose combined experience and skills represent one of the world’s best internet travel teams.
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