Thomas Holtrop, former head of Deutsche Telekom's Internet arm T-Online, is to take over as
chairman of Thomas Cook, a spokesman for Lufthansa, one of the travel group's co-owners, said on Friday. A corresponding proposal would be put to Thomas Cook's supervisory board on Friday, the spokesman said, confirming newspaper reports. Thomas Cook is a 50-50 joint venture between the German flag carrier and the troubled department store chain KartstadtQuelle. It is currently headed by Wolfgang Beeser, who was called out of retirement in early 2004 to replace chief executive Stefan Pichler, who resigned as a result of poor results. Beeser was appointed for a maximum period of two years during which time Thomas Cook appears to have turned the corner -- the group expects to return to profit at the end of the current business year ending in October. Holtrop quit T-Online last autumn. While the reasons for his departure have not been disclosed, it is believed he resigned over strategic differences with Deutsche Telekom, particularly with regard to the telecom giant's plans to re-integrate T-Online.