DER Touristik

Radical restructuring at Kuoni Switzerland

Dieter Zümpel will become CEO at Kuoni Switzerland.
DER Touristik
Dieter Zümpel will become CEO at Kuoni Switzerland.

DER Touristik is launching major changes at loss-making subsidiary Kuoni Switzerland with 69 job losses and well-known German manager Dieter Zümpel as the new CEO.

Zümpel, formerly with TUI and Alltours in senior sales and marketing positions, will take up the post as head of Kuoni Switzerland on November 1. He replaces long-serving Marcel Bürgin who is leaving the company.

Sören Hartmann, CEO of the DER Touristik Group, said: “Dieter Zümpel has excellent experience in travel sales. With him in charge, Kuoni Switzerland will re-position itself as a leader in travel sales and product offering in the Swiss market.”

The German sales and marketing expert will be tasked with turning around the Swiss market leader, which has suffered from falling sales in the last two years following a series of management changes, the sale of the Kuoni Group, the devaluation of the Swiss franc and several failed IT projects.

“We need a new start,” admitted René Herzog, DER Touristik CEO Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), who described Kuoni’s current systems as “not suitable for the market”.

In future, Kuoni Switzerland holidays will be largely produced by the German parent group while the Swiss subsidiary will focus mostly on sales & marketing activities. The beach holiday brand Helvetic Tours is already using the ‘Blank’ IT system of the Cologne-based package tour operators. From winter 2016/17, Kuoni’s higher-value packages, long-haul and individual holidays will be produced through the Phoenix Unlimited system of DER Touristik Frankfurt.

“It will be a ‘Best Of’ from Dertour, Dertour Deluxe, Meier’s Weltreisen and Jahn Reisen,” explained Herzog. Products will be created for Kuoni Switzerland in line with the requirements of the Swiss market, and priced in Swiss francs.

This restructuring will lead to the loss of 69 jobs in Zurich. Kuoni currently employs a total of 1,200 workers, including 240 in the tour operating department. No changes are planned for the group’s 85 Swiss travel agencies or the diverse specialist tour operators such as those for Scandinavia, diving and safari holidays.