Award-winning Manchester-based travel company First Class Holidays has appointed Dan Gathercole as its new Managing Director. 

Dan, who has over 15 years’ experience in senior management in the sport and leisure sector, joins from American Golf, where he was Marketing Director. In his new role he will lead the growth of the company, working alongside the founders Paul Ainsworth and Sharon Mason, who now become Executive Chairman and Chief Operating Officer respectively.  

First Class Holidays specialises in luxury holidays to Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand and is backed by private equity firm PHD Equity Partners. Dan said: “I’m delighted to be joining such a great business build on service and trust. I am looking forward to working with Paul, Sharon and PHD Equity Partners to help First Class continue to grow.” 

Andy Dodd of PHD Equity Partners said: “Dan has a strong track record for building new sales channels and partnerships and is ideally placed to lead the growth of First Class Holidays. His appointment is in line with PHD’s strategy of investing in great businesses and working with the founders to develop the management team and build on their success.”