O’Leary moves away from Ryanair front line

©Ryanair

Michael O’Leary, the abrasive CEO of Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, is to step down from the role of day-to-day running of the airline to take up a new role as CEO of a restructured Ryanair overseeing CEOs of the company’s four airlines – Ryanair DAC, Ryanair Sun, Ryanair UK and the newly acquired Laudamotion. O’Leary has been heavily blamed for much of Ryanair’s staffing discontent which led to a number of strikes last year.

Despite surviving a shareholder rebellion last year which wanted to see him removed as Group Chairman, David Bonderman has agreed to step down from the role next year, to be replaced by current director, Stan McCarthy. With O’Leary taking up his new role, a new CEO of Ryanair DAC is expected to be appointed within the next few months.

News of the departure of Bonderman was welcomed as a victory by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Stephen Cotton, the ITF general secretary, said: “Having taken on one of the world’s worst employers, workers have shown that collective action can help shift dodgy corporate practices.

The Group’s restructuring comes at a time when Ryanair announced that it had slipped into the red for the last three months of 2018 as air fares tumbled, losing €19.6m (US$22.3m) compared to a €105.6m (US$120.4m) profit for the same period in 2017.

O’Leary said it was disappointing but added: “We take comfort that this was entirely due to weaker than expected air fares, so our customers are enjoying record low prices, which is good for current and future traffic growth.”

Ryanair carried 10 million passengers in January and over 140 million for the past 12 months, an increase of 8% year on year.

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