BBC presenter to be chairman of Western &Oriental

ndrew Neil has been named as the next chairman of W&O Travel's parent company Western & Oriental.

W&O’s chairman and two of its non-executive directors have all resigned as the group announces a pre-tax loss of £7.8 million, up from £251,000 the previous year,

The company announced the double resignation of directors Alan Barber and Pamela Harper at the end of last week while chairman David Howell stood down this week as the results were announced.

His replacement, Neil, who is also the former editor of the Sunday Times, has been the headline speaker at travel conferences including Advantage in 2009.

Announcing his resignation, Howell blamed the poor results on the difficult market, adding: “The effects of the credit crunch were still being felt when the Icelandic volcanic eruptions in April 2010 closed the skies for 10 days.

“That closure had an unprecedented effect on customer booking patterns and gross margins which lasted from April 2010 until the end of the financial year.”

Neil will joined on the board by Pavlos Savvides and Rajinder Kumar.

“We are all investors in the company and share a desire with all shareholders for the company to be profitable and to seek to enhance shareholder value,” Neil said.

He added: "We will be discussing plans for the future of the business in the coming weeks with the aim of advising shareholders of our intentions for the business going forward by the end of Janua