Career move

Thomas Cook manager takes over DER Touristik destination management

Klaus-Ulrich Sperl (left) will follow Michael Kimmer (right) as DER Touristik’s head of destination management
Klaus-Ulrich Sperl (left) will follow Michael Kimmer (right) as DER Touristik’s head of destination management

Long-serving Thomas Cook manager Klaus-Ulrich Sperl is switching to DER Touristik as head of destination management activities.

Sperl, currently Commercial Director for the whole Thomas Cook Group, will leave the company at the end of 2018 after nearly 19 years in different management positions. He held various jobs in Germany, the UK and in Western Europe during his career with Europe’s second-largest tourism group. As Group Commercial Director, he is responsible for Thomas Cook’s own product portfolio and hotel contracting. His responsibilities will be taken on by Christian Funk, who remains head of Ancillaries and Premium Product.

From January, Sperl (50) will join DER Touristik Group as CEO DMC and then replace Michael Kimmer, CEO DMC & Hotel, on the International Board in April following the latter’s retirement at the end of March.

Under Kimmer’s management, DER Touristik has built up a network of Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in 25 countries and 57 destinations in recent years. In addition to the long-established incoming agencies in long-haul destinations such as the USA, Caribbean and Thailand, these include newly-established or acquired agencies in short- and medium-haul destinations, including Turkey, Spain, Greece and Austria. This expansion followed the sale five years ago of the group’s stake in MTS, which had been the incoming partner for many years.

“I’m delighted that with Klaus-Ulrich Sperl we have been able to win an expert with wide-ranging international tourism experience for this important role. Under his leadership we will further expand our DMC network as a core part of our group strategy,” said Sören Hartmann, CEO DER Touristik Group.

However, Sperl will not take over Kimmer’s responsibility for the group’s hotel activities. Hartmann will be responsible for these, with DER Touristik Hotels & Resorts managing director Christian Grage reporting directly to him.

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