Award honour for Thomas Cook boss

The chief executive of travel giant Thomas Cook has proved to be a real high flyer after winning a prestigious businesswoman awa rd.

Harriet Green, winner of the Veuve Clicquot business woman award
Harriet Green, winner of the Veuve Clicquot business woman award

Harriet Green was named Veuve Clicquot business woman of the year, with the judges praising her leadership as a "model" for years to come.

She was appointed chief executive two years ago after calling the chairman to say she was the right person to lead the recovery of the firm.

Since her appointment, the company's fortunes have soared, the share price has increased by 950%, and its retail stores and airline fleet have been upgraded.

She has also tackled the issue of diversity in senior positions at Thomas Cook, with her executive committee now including four women and six different nationalities.

She said: "As we've transformed Thomas Cook, I've kept approximately one third of the original leadership team, promoted another third from within the organisation, and brought a third in from outside, to enable a fresh perspective and develop new ideas - leaders who've driven transformation in other industries, or individuals with a deep knowledge of the web and technology.

"The combination has worked fantastically and we have a strong team who are central to driving innovation.

"When I arrived at Thomas Cook, we needed to reignite belief. Our teams had been through a tough time, but as is so often the case, no one knew better what needed to be changed than those who work with our customers, suppliers and systems every day.

"On my first day I wrote to every employee, and asked them what needed to be changed. Over 8,000 of them replied to me with long detailed answers. With that knowledge, passion and care, we've been able to move quickly, though we still have much to do."

Ms Green, a 52-year-old mother of two, trains every morning with a trainer, which she said helps her manage her work-life balance.

The Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award, aimed at young female entrepreneurs, was won by Jenny Dawson, founder of Rubies in the Rubble, a business which makes chutneys from fruit and vegetables that would be discarded because of over-supply or failed standards.

The 27-year-old founded the company to tackle food waste.

"My mum used to make jams and chutneys so that influenced my decision, although I wanted to do something about the amount of food that is wasted," she said.

The company is soon to launch other products, including crisps.