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Wills to help expand talkholiday brand

Amanda WillsAmanda Wills, described by Sir Richard Branson as “a legend within the travel industry” has joined the board of Scottish travel-themed social network talkholiday.

Wills was the managing director of Virgin Holidays for 13 years until her departure in 2014. Under her leadership of 1,500 staff the company doubled turnover, increased profits fourfold and grew bookings to half a million customers a year. Previous to that Wills was the first woman appointed to the board at Airtours.

She joins Glasgow-based talkholiday in a non-executive role with a brief to increase brand awareness through commercial partnerships and as the principal strategist in the travel sector. She will operate from her base in London.

The company was created by Scottish entrepreneur Chris Newlands from Erskine after his own travel experiences made him realise there were gaps in the market regarding various aspects of holidaymaking.

The site acts as a platform where like-minded people with the same interests, going to the same destination or an event at the same time, can interact.

Wills added: “It is hugely exciting. When Chris asked me to join him it was an absolute no brainer. I left Virgin Holidays with the motivation to offer my expertise to young enterprising businesses with bundles of ambition and potential. I see those exact attributes in talkholiday as a brand and in the team that Chris is building.

“The foundation to a fantastic business is already in place and I am here to help take it to the next level at a time when it is accelerating rapidly in both numbers, partnerships and development.”

Steven Mail, a former investment banker who once launched the largest single manager Global macro hedge fund in Europe, also joins the firm. Florida-based Mail is well connected to leading US social and digital media companies.

Mail, born in Scotland, was an early investor in talkholiday and formerly acted as an advisory board member. Mail joins the board as a non-executive director as the brand looks to roll out in to the US market later this year. He has been working on a separate project with Scottish Enterprise to bring Endeavour, the social entrepreneurship organisation to Scotland.

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