April 18, 2024

Eton Travel acquired by Chris Thelen

Chris Thelen, Founder and CEO of TMC start-up TakeTwo Travel Solutions, has acquired Eton Travel Group.

Eton Travel Group is a 53-year-old independent, full-service TMC specialising in pharmaceutical, IT, finance, retail, manufacturing, legal and consulting industries.

With premises in Eton and Wokingham in Berkshire as well as Cork in Ireland, it has a team of 85 people who also provide specialist services for VIPs, MICE, entertainment travel and luxury holidays.

Eton, which was significantly impacted by Covid travel restrictions, will continue to operate under the same brand as a separate business from TakeTwo.

A member of the Business Travel Association, Advantage Travel Partnership and Amex GBT’s Travel Partner Network, Eton had a turnover of £40 million pre-Covid.

Managing Director Ken Thompson will step down and retire and a new senior team has been created, reporting to Thelen.

Martin Boone (formerly Director) is promoted to General Manager, Chris Klinker (formerly Director) becomes Head of Speciality Sales, Eton’s group air fulfilment division, Alison Rodgers (formerly Manager of Detonate) will become Head of VIP and Entertainment, Kay Fleet (previously IT & Systems Manager) becomes Head of Technology & Special Projects, and Joan Budgen (previously Manager Leisure Travel) will be Head of Luxury Leisure.

Thelen said: “Eton is an established brand with a solid reputation, it’s a great company with exceptional staff. I’ve been impressed with the senior team and have been working with them for some time to find a way to preserve the business and save as many jobs as possible.

“The emergence of the Omicron variant has brought fresh challenges in recent weeks to the entire business travel industry. However, I am fully committed to Eton. I believe Eton has a strong future and I want it to succeed and thrive again as travel continues to recover in 2022.

“It will be business as usual at Eton as the company continues to operate under its own brand with its own sales strategies, partners and customers.”

But he promised Eton clients a “significant uplift in service” thanks to investment in technology and by maximising the opportunities presented by Eton’s office in Ireland.

Thompson added: “I’m incredibly proud of Eton Travel and the stellar reputation it’s gained with loyal customers over 53 years. Of course, we couldn’t have had such success without the team behind it all and I’d like to thank each of them for their commitment over the years but especially in the last 21 months which has been so challenging for us all.

“I’m happy to be leaving the business in such safe hands with Chris Thelen and my fellow senior team. Chris is a dynamic leader with proven success in corporate travel and I know Eton has an exciting future with him at the helm. I wish Chris and the Eton Travel team all the best for the future.”