The chief financial officer of listed online travel agent On the Beach has resigned after revenue fell two-thirds in the first half of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Meehan, who replaced previous CFO Wendy Parry when she retired, will depart on July 17th to ‘pursue other business interests’.

The Cheadle-headquartered firm said that summer bookings had been up 29 per cent following the collapse of Thomas Cook. However the arrival of coronavirus curtailed new bookings and led to a raft of cancellations, resulting in a 66 per cent drop in Q1 revenue to £21.4m.

Profit before tax fell £13.4m to £2.3m, with the group estimating that the pandemic has cost it £34.7m so far.

Shaun Morton, the group’s director of finance, will be promoted to the CFO role and join the board as a director when Meehan departs.  

Morton joined in February 2018 after holding senior finance roles at Deloitte, Asda and Ghd Hair. 

Working alongside Meehan at On the Beach, he was heavily involved in dealing with the failure of Thomas Cook, the acquisition of Classic Collection and the delivery of the group’s recent £67m share placing and £25m CLBILS facility. 

“I have very much enjoyed my time with On the Beach and feel that now is the right time to concentrate on and pursue other business interests,” said Meehan.  

“I have worked closely with Shaun since he joined the group and I believe he is well-placed to take over the CFO role and deliver on the next phase of OTB’s growth.”  

CEO Simon Cooper said: “I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the board, to thank Paul for his three and a half years with On the Beach, during which time we have successfully completed two acquisitions and, most recently, a £67m placing of new shares. I wish him all the best with his future endeavours. 

“I would also like to congratulate Shaun to his new CFO role. Shaun has a built a strong understanding of the online travel industry since joining the group and I look forward to working with him as we deliver on the group’s strategy to become Europe’s leading online retailer of beach holidays.”