Michael O'Leary (Ryanair)

Michael O'Leary (Ryanair)

Michael O'Leary (born 20 March 1961) is chief executive of the low-cost airline Ryanair. He is one of the Republic of Ireland's richest people, with an estimated fortune of €636 million. [ [http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/specials/rich_list/ Sunday Times Rich List 2007 - Business ] ]

Early life

Michael O'Leary, second eldest in a family of six, was born outside Mullingar, County Westmeath. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare. In 1979 he began a four-year Bachelor in Business Studies programme at Trinity College. He graduated in 1983 with a 2.1 grade (the press often wrongly affirms that O'Leary dropped out of university)RTÉ radio 10 February 2007, in "Conversations with Eamon Dunphy" ] . He then worked as an accountant with Stokes Kennedy Crowley (later known as KPMG). He worked towards qualifications as a tax consultant. He left after two years in 1985 to set up a newsagent's business in Walkinstown, and then a second one in Terenure, Dublin, "making a lot of money" as he has said, over a two-year period.

In SKC, O'Leary had met Tony Ryan, head of GPA (Guinness Peat Aviation, a leasing company), as one of the firm's clients, advising Ryan on his personal income tax. In 1987, Ryan hired O'Leary as his personal financial and tax advisor at the age of 26. Ryan's main interest at the time was in GPA. Ryanair was also being set up at the time. The fledgling airline at first followed a traditional business model, but quickly began to guzzle cash. O'Leary was sent to the USA to study the Southwest Airlines model, and returned - still as a personal advisor to Ryan - with many ideas.

Ryanair career

O'Leary was Deputy Chief Executive of Ryanair between 1991 and 1994. In January 1994 he was promoted to chief executive of Ryanair. Under O'Leary's management, Ryanair further developed the low-cost model originated by Southwest Airlines. [ [http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2006/04/01/8372814/index.htm A radical Fix for Airlines: Make Flying Free, Forbes, 1 April, 2006] ] European consumers would likely attribute the birth of ancillary revenue and penny tickets to Europe's largest low fare airline. O'Leary may have described the inauguration of the ancillary revenue movement during a 2001 interview in the UK Sunday Times. ["Flying for Free on Ryanair", May 13, 2001, BBC News] "The other airlines are asking how they can put up fares. We are asking how we could get rid of them."

The unorthodox business model envisioned by O'Leary uses receipts from on board shopping, internet gaming, car hire and hotel bookings to eventually replace the revenue from selling airline seats. His radical idea catalyzed an industry-wide trend to coax more revenue from the profit-challenged airline business.

The deregulation of Ireland's major airports (beginning with the dissolution of Aer Rianta, Ireland's principal airport authority, in 2004), and the shake-up of traditional full-service airlines are among his best-known demands. [ [http://www.irishpost.co.uk/news/story.asp?j=5286&cat=news Irish Post: Ryanair chief hints of possible departure ] ] He has announced he intends to stand down from the Ryanair helm "over the next few years" as the "nature of the airline has to change".

Controversy, arrogance and use of foul language

O'Leary has a somewhat fiery reputation among both his competitors in the airline industry and regulators. He has been described in many press articles as arrogant [ [http://www.zeit.de/2004/29/Monti-Amt?page=4 Die Festung wankt: Europas mächtige Wettbewerbshüter verurteilen Microsoft und stoppen Fusionen. Geschwächt von Pannen, geraten sie jetzt in den Machtkampf um die Besetzung der EU-Kommission. Eine Innenansicht Von Arne Storn | ZEIT online ] ] [ [http://www.epolitix.com/EN/ForumBriefs/200702/94382ad2-5e35-449a-a96c-efed15704d95.htm ePolitix.com - Ryanair slams air passenger duty ] ] [ [http://www.nieuwsblad.be/Article/Detail.aspx?articleID=grufctss Het Nieuwsblad - Ryanair-topman Michael O'Leary schudde luchtvaartwereld wakker ] ] [ [http://www.gqmagazine.co.uk/Daily_News/default.aspx?related=high%20flying British GQ 10 Things To Know Today ] ] [ [http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2003/07/06/story813091014.asp Ryanair's anti-Ahern campaign gets the thumbs-down from PR industry: ThePost.ie ] ] [http://www.rvu.nl/archief/nep/2003/stuntvliegers.pdf] and has on numerous occasions stooped to gratuitous rudeness and foul language in his public statements [ [http://www.independent.ie/national-news/iron-mike-fires-last-round-at-warweary--taoiseach-1341289.html Iron Mike fires last round at war-weary Taoiseach - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie ] ] [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6098281/site/newsweek/ Is This Any Way to Run An Airline? - Newsweek Enterprise - MSNBC.com ] ] [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article1816866.ece Michael O'Leary: Plane crazy - People, News - Independent.co.uk ] ] [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2006/10/05/bcnryan105.xml] [ [http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1513268,00.html The Guardian profile: Michael O'Leary | Environment | The Guardian ] ] [http://www.guardian.co.uk/airlines/story/0,,1888915,00.html Profile: Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary | Business | The Guardian ] ] [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article676356.ece When I stuff BA, I'll quit - Times Online ] ] [ [http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2003/february/i_qa.html Boeing Frontiers Online ] ] [ [http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9681074 Aviation | Snarling all the way to the bank | Economist.com ] ] [ [http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/taking-the-flight-fight-to-ryanair-1232610.html Taking the flight fight to Ryanair - Irish, Business - Independent.ie ] ] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/feb/04/ryanair.theairlineindustry Ryanair warns high oil prices could slash its profits by 50% next year | Business | guardian.co.uk ] ] His no-nonsense management style, extreme cost-cutting and meanness towards staff , provocative advertising , and his deliberate targeting and scathing criticisms of competitors, airport authorities, governments, and unions have become a hallmark. He has been reported to have been aggressive and hostile in dealings with a woman who was awarded free flights for life in 1988 [“Woman claims Ryanair reneged on free travel prize”, February 28, 2002, at [http://www.rte.ie/news/2002/0228/ryanair.html RTE Business] ; last accessed 18 December 2006.] and abusive and prone to outbursts when dealing with staff, Aer Aerann boss Paidraig O Ciedigh [ [http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/war-in-irish-skies-as-regional-rival-claims-ryan-air-boss-oleary-told-him-f-f-13927366.html War in Irish skies as regional rival claims Ryan Air boss O'Leary told him 'F**k off' - Local & National, News - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk ] ] and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern [ [http://www.irishdemocrat.co.uk/book-reviews/the-uncrowned-king-of-economy-class-travel/ Irish Democrat : Book reviews : The uncrowned king of economy-class travel ] ] . Recently he was forced to retract a claim that Ryanair had cut emissions of carbon dioxide by half over the past five years [ [http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/afx/2007/01/30/afx3376002.html Ryanair chief exec admits his emissions claims were an 'error' - Forbes.com ] ] . O'Leary has been reported to have impersonated a journalist in an attempt to find out what informationan airport authority had passed on to a newspaper following a safety incident on a Ryanair flight [ [http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=498833&issue_id=5125 Ryanair staff were menacing: passenger - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie ] ] In a press conference discussing Ryanair's new transcontinental service, O'Leary described the luxurious first-class travel experience as including "free beds and blowjobs." [ [http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b5e_1214473286 LiveLeak.com - Free Oral Sex to Business Class Customers on Ryanair says CEO ] ]

Registration of private car as taxi

In 2004 he purchased a hackney plate for his Mercedes-Benz to enable it to be classified as a taxi so that he could legally make use of Dublin's bus lanes to speed his car journeys around the city [ [http://www.moneyweek.com/file/20102/michael-oleary-profile-.html Ryanair, Michael O'Leary - Money Week ] ] . A press report suggested that he was stopped driving his own taxi. In 2005 the transport minister of the Republic of Ireland expressed concern at this abuse by O'Leary and others. [ [http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/index.php3?issue_id=8841 News Ireland | Irish News Paper | Free News Stories Online from The Irish Independent Newspaper - Independent.ie ] ] [ [http://www.taxi.ie/oleary-taxi.shtml# Ireland Taxi Ireland Hackney cab Irish Taxi chauffeur transport ] ]

Personal life

O'Leary lives in Gigginstown House near Mullingar. He married Anita Farrell in 2003 and their first child, Matt, was born in September 2005 followed by another son, Luke, in April 2007. He breeds Aberdeen Angus cattle and horses at his Gigginstown House Stud [ [http://www.sportingchronicle.com/goldcup.html 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup, March 16, 2006] ] in County Westmeath. In 2006, his horse "War of Attrition" won the Cheltenham Gold Cup [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5265260.stm BBC NEWS | Business | Profile: Michael O'Leary ] ] . This is the blue riband of steeplechasing. "War of Attrition" was trained by Michael 'Mouse' Morris at Fethard, County Tipperary, and ridden by Conor O'Dwyer


External links

* [http://www.ryanair.com Ryanair]
* Fortune magazine name Michael O'Leary as the [http://web.archive.org/web/20040415021654/http://www.fortune.com/fortune/information/Presscenter/0,,12242001europe,00.html European Businessman of the Year]

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