Thomas Cook's Harriet Green: 'Sleep is overrated'

The MT Interview: Harriet Green has transformed Thomas Cook, once Britain's Least Admired Company, into a refocused, leaner business on no more than four hours' sleep a night.

by Andrew Saunders

Is Harriet Green the person for whom the phrase 'She never stops' was coined? It's not usually meant to be taken literally, but even among today's notoriously time-pressed CEOs, doomed by globalisation to cover half a dozen time zones at once, she comes closer to actually achieving round-the-clock 'always on' status than just about anyone else you are likely to encounter in the boardrooms of UK plc.

'I don't sleep much, I never have. It's over-rated. The mystery is how my mother went on to have two more children when she already had one like me who just didn't sleep,' says the improbably bright-eyed boss of travel giant Thomas Cook, who gets by on just three or four hours' kip a night, a la Margaret Thatcher.

She bests all her alpha-male oppos who think that 5.30am is a suitably macho time to get up by, rising at the frankly incredible hour of 3.30am.

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