Supplement to Newsletter
Edited by Eddie Fernandes,
Printer Friendly Version

Manuel Mascarenhas
Manuel Mascarenhas is the only child of Louis Mascarenhas and Maria Erelina Mascarenhas.
He is married to Elizabeth and has two daughters, Emily and Sophie.

February 12, 2001

HEADLINE: Philosophy flak jacket. Manuel Mascarenhas is sales director of Thomson Holidays. He spoke to SARA MACEFIELD

Having shrugged off death threats when he worked for British Airways in Nigeria, it's not surprising that Thomson sales chief Manuel Mascarenhas is philosophical about his past rocky relations with agents.

He knew it was never going to be easy to balance Thomson's plans against the needs of retailers, but he has no regrets.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years here," he says.

"It is great working for a company that is totally committed to its customers. And now we have seen our way through a difficult period, I think it is going to be very interesting."

But just over a year ago, it was a different story. Profit warnings, a faltering share price and the exit of former chief executive Paul Brett severely damaged Thomson's credibility.

And things were barely any better in the trade as relations with Thomson's retail partners sank to an all-time low.

As the company's trade face who was seen to be pushing through controversial changes, Mr Mascarenhas was the target for a lot of flak.

"The flak I don't mind if it is constructive," he says.

"Life is a learning experience and we move on."

Comments such as this reflect Mr Mascarenhas's positive outlook - one he needed when he moved to this country from Uganda in 1967 with his Goan parents and attended an all-white boys' grammar school in Sidcup, Kent.

He joined BA in 1979 as a graduate trainee from Bristol Polytechnic. Ten years later he returned to Africa, and spent "two lovely years" in Nigeria - despite the death threats.

With an area covering 26 countries, Mr Mascarenhas found himself making sales calls by boat to key agents spread from the heart of Kinshasa to the Congo.

A previous posting to Oman in 1986 had taken Mr Mascarenhas to the emirate for three years - a time he recalls fondly.

His adventures abroad ended in 1991 when he was recalled to the UK to work under BA marketing director Martin George.

Various marketing posts followed, which included setting up BA's marketing services division and leisure retail division. Then in 1998, Thomson approached him for a second time.

"When they first approached me in 1996, I wasn't ready," admits Mr Mascarenhas.

"This was a big decision, but I was keen to maintain my profile with the UK trade. And I would not have considered any other company because it was the market leader and I had already worked for a market leader in BA."

Having been offered the role of national sales manager, with the promise of a directorship, Mr Mascarenhas joined in April 1998 and was elevated to sales director seven months later.

The rest is history. But as Mr Mascarenhas enthusiastically describes his 18-year career at BA and his tumultuous time at Thomson, it is easy to sense the passion that motivates him in whatever he does - whether he's behind his desk or dancing until dawn at ABTA conventions.

It doesn't end there. As a family man with two daughters, Mr Mascarenhas also puts his negotiating skills to good use as a marriage counsellor.

And his attitude to his favourite sports of tennis and cricket is to play well and with panache - a philosophy that he has clearly adopted elsewhere in his life.


1979: British Airways graduate trainee
1979-84: various planning and commercial roles at BA
1984: moved to BA sales
1986: worked for BA overseas
1991: returned to work in the UK in BA marketing
1994: worked in BA leisure sales
1998: joined Thomson as UK national sales manager in April,
becoming sales director in November
2002: Thomas Cook Signature Sales Director.

Goan Voice designed by Goacom Insys Pvt. Ltd., Goa
and funded by donations from the world-wide Goan Community.