‘Greedy’ Thomas Cook exec slammed over kids’ holiday deaths raked in £7.9m bonuses and stayed in five-star Mayfair hotel through week on expenses

‘Greedy’ Thomas Cook exec slammed over kids’ holiday deaths raked in £7.9m bonuses and stayed in five-star Mayfair hotel through week on expenses

- in Usa News

A FORMER Thomas Cook boss who was slammed over her handling of the deaths of two young holidaymakers raked in £7.9 million in bonuses and lived in a five-star hotel on expenses before leaving the doomed firm.

Harriet Green, 57, took home almost £11 million in total pay and faced controversy over an £80,000 yearly hotel and travel bill.

Harriet Green came in for criticism about the handling of the inquests into Christi and Bobby Shepherd
Getty – Contributor

Ms Green – a self professed lover of designer labels and diamonds – was chief executive of Thomas Cook from 2012 to November 2014.

Despite having no experience in the travel industry she famously cold called the chairman of the struggling tour operator Frank Meysman, telling him: “You need me.”

She was credited with turning round the ailing firm but her time at the company was marred by a series of controversies over the inquest of Christi and Bobby Shepherd, aged six and seven, who died while on holiday in Corfu in 2006.

The two children died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty hotel boiler while on holiday with Thomas Cook on Corfu.

She was criticised for the way the firm, under her leadership, treated the parents of Bobby and Christi.

Ms Green was branded a “greedy, shameless woman” over her handling of the crisis and was accused of “behaving shamelessly” by the children’s mother, Sharon Wood.

They also said Ms Green had refused to meet them.

However a spokeswoman for Ms Green insisted she had been “fully prepared to meet” them and had “enormous sympathy with the family”.

They added that she had no direct involvement in the inquest.

When Peter Fankhauser took over and in the wake of a public backlash against the firm, the company finally apologised.

Ms Green later donated a third of a £5.6 million bonus to charities chosen by Bobby and Christi’s parents.


Ms Green was awarded almost £11million in total pay and in 2015 alone, received £6.3 million despite only working for two months of that financial year, largely through share awards.

During her time at Thomas Cook she was on a salary of up to £687,000 a year and was given £7.9million in bonuses.

During her two year tenure, the firm’s share price rose from 14p to 140p.

The firm paid about £80,000 a year towards her travel and hotel bills, including staying at plush Brown’s hotel four nights a week, before heading to her £2.5 million home in North Oxford at the weekends.

She also has a holiday home in Thailand.

Ms Green is now in a lucrative senior post at US computer giant IBM and was this month named as number five on the HERoes women role model executives list.


Ms Green is a devotee of Hatha Yoga and a fitness fanatic who enjoys early 5.30am gruelling gym sessions with her former marine personal trainer.

Similarly to Margaret Thatcher, she claims to need just four hours sleep a night.

In an interview with Management Today she said: “I don’t sleep much. It’s overrated.”

Ms Green, who stands at just 5ft 3in, has described her management style as a “landa”, a combination of a lion and panda.

Discussing her time at Thomas Cook she said: “The business is not that complex. It is not the nuclear industry. It’s travel. How difficult can it be to give people a good holiday?”


Born in 1961 in Shipton, Gloucestershire, Ms Green is the eldest of three children and attended state school Westwood’s Grammar.

She went on to King’s College, London, where she graduated with a BA in Medieval History in 1983, and studied at the London School of Economics.

She began her career working for a magazine, Working Women, before making the move into business herself.

In a previous interview she said she wasn’t driven by money but added: “If you are focused on the cause, you will be appropriately rewarded…people are sensitive to greed.”

She went on: “I go into schools to get in front of 13 and 14 year-olds and explain why business is a good thing to do. I tell them I have the best shoes and great outfits that I bought myself…I travel the world. It’s fun!”


Up to a million Thomas Cook customers have seen their holidays thrown into chaos by the collapse of the 178-year-old firm. Many are unlikely to receive compensation.

The UK’s biggest repatriation since World War Two started yesterday – at an estimated cost of £100 million to the taxpayer – after the firm went bust.

Around 135,000 Brits are waiting to be rescued and brought back to the UK.

About 15,000 holidaymakers were flown home on an estimated 61 flights yesterday.

The company’s 21,000 employees, including 9,000 in the UK, have been made redundant.

Boris Johnson criticised the directors of the company for paying themselves large sums before the 178-year-old tour company went “down the tubes”.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom called for an urgent probe into Thomas Cook chiefs and how the firm came to be liquidated.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell went further and said bosses should “absolutely” be forced to hand back bonuses.

Peter Kyle, a Labour member of the business select committee, said: “It’s another collapse which shines light on the role of accounting and corporate greed.

“It brings shame to a private sector where the vast majority of people work hard and play by the rules.”

Furious passengers also turned on the Thomas Cook fat cat bosses.

Tom Patrick, 69, from Cookstown, Northern Ireland, who was on holiday with his wife Valerie, said: “They ripped the company apart but they’ll be home and dry while their employees suffer and thousands of holidays are ruined.

“They shouldn’t get a penny of a performance-related bonus, by definition. You can’t reward failure on this scale with millions of pounds, it’s ridiculous.”

Lesley Mance, 29, from Reading, said: “I am furious they were paid so much when they were completely incapable of keeping the company afloat or avoiding this mayhem.”

Ms Green, who faced controversy over an £80,000 yearly hotel and travel bill, took home almost £11million in total pay
PA:Press Association
Harriet Green, with her husband Graham Clarkson, was chief executive of Thomas Cook from 2012 to 2015
Getty – Contributor
Christi and Bobby Shepherd died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty hotel boiler while on holiday with Thomas Cook on Corfu in 2006
Former Thomas Cook chief executive Harriet Green
PA:Press Association
Thomas Cook passengers queue in front of check-in desks on the second day of repatriations at Reus airport, next to Tarragona in Spain

Passengers queue at the closed Thomas Cook check-in desk at the International Airport in Cancun, Mexico,
AFP or licensors

Passengers queuing at the closed Thomas Cook check-in desk in Cancun, Mexico[/caption]

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