Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Travel boss gives shares to charity

The former chief executive of tour company Thomas Cook - who has been described as "greedy" and "shameless" - is to donate to charity a third of the multimillion-pound shares she is entitled to.

It follows widespread criticism of how Thomas Cook has treated the parents of Bobby and Christi Shepherd who were found dead in a bungalow in the grounds of a hotel in Corfu in 2006, having suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

Harriet Green, the company's former chief executive, is due to receive seven million Thomas Cook shares, currently worth around £10 million, and she will donate a third to charity, her spokeswoman confirmed.

Ms Green said she has told the children's parents about her intention to make a donation to a charity of their choosing.

"I have now reached out to the parents of Bobby and Christi Shepherd. On the basis that Thomas Cook are due to give me seven million shares in July, I have told the parents that I will donate one third of that seven million to a charity of their choice," she told Reuters.

On closing value of shares tonight at 145.6p, the seven million shares are worth £10.2 million and a third of that would be £3.4 million.

Ms Green led Thomas Cook until last year during a period in which the firm took legal action against the hotel involved and fought to stop inquests into the children's deaths taking place in the UK.

The conclusion of those inquests earlier this month provoked a new wave of criticism of the holiday giant after the jury decided that Christi and Bobby were unlawfully killed and said the tour company had breached its duty of care.

Since then, it has been revealed that the firm secured a £3 million compensation payout from the company that owns the hotel.

Earlier this week it was reported that Ms Green was likely to receive a £10.5 million bonus from the firm later this year.

Ms Green's payout was criticised by former Downing Street adviser Steve Hilton who told BBC One's Andrew Marr programme on Sunday that she was a ''greedy shameless boss''.

The children's mother, Sharon Wood, told the Mail On Sunday: ''Harriet Green has behaved shamefully towards us - she refused to meet us. She should hand this bonus back, or pay it to children's charities.''

Ms Green's spokesman told the paper that she ''has enormous sympathy with the family'' and that ''she has watched the events of recent weeks with some distress and is personally disappointed with the company's handling of the inquest''.

The spokesman said the bonus was based on how she turned round a failing company.


From Belfast Telegraph