Ryanair names one of two replacements for outgoing COO Cawley
RYANAIR has named one of the two people who will replace outgoing chief operating officer Michael Cawley, the Irish Independent has learnt.
David O'Brien, currently head of flight and ground operations, has secured one of the roles. Staff were informed of the appointment yesterday.
Mr Cawley, who's also a deputy chief executive at the airline, earlier this year announced his intention to resign from his role. He will officially resign at the end of March but will remain as a non-executive director of the firm.
Following the airline's AGM in September, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary indicated that the carrier was likely to split Mr Cawley's role and make two appointments to cover his duties. Mr Cawley undertakes negotiations with airports across Europe on behalf of Ryanair.
Mr O'Brien will now take over that mantle from Mr Cawley, handling route development, traffic management and other activities, including links with airports.
It's understood that the second appointment, which will be for a director of sales and marketing, will be made early in the new year.
Ryanair has also told staff that the airline's current director of engineering, Mick Hickey, will become the group director of operations, taking over Mr O'Brien's existing role.
Mr Hickey, who joined Ryanair in 1988, will be responsible for all engineering, flight and ground operations.
"One of the features of Ryanair's business model over the last 10 years is that we have a succession plan in place for every senior management position," Mr O'Leary said following the September AGM.
The new appointments form part of Ryanair's new customer-focused growth strategy, which has seen it already roll out a number of changes, including cutting penalty fees, allowing a second piece of cabin baggage and the introduction of allocated seating across its network, which will happen next year. It has also revamped its website and will introduce new family and business-friendly fares.
Mr O'Brien was director of UK operations at Ryanair between 1998 and 2002, when he was appointed director of flight and ground operations.