independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Wanted: new director to make Ryanair 'loveable' to the public

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary

HE has promised a softer Ryanair and now Michael O'Leary is looking to hire a new director who'll persuade Europe's travelling public that the airline is lovable again.

Ryanair is looking to hire a sales and marketing director who'll become its chief spokesperson in the 29 countries in which it operates and play a key role in presenting the new touchy-feely airline.

Despite the enormous challenge it entails, the position is certain to attract a huge amount of interest.

Ryanair says the successful candidate will be responsible for devising and implementing all sales promotions, advertising, brand development and communication strategy in order to promote its "safety, customer service and low-fare message". They'll form part of a 10-person senior management team at the airline.

NEGOTIATIONS

The appointment is one of two being made by Ryanair to cover roles carried out by outgoing chief operating officer and deputy chief executive Michael Cawley. He's retiring from the airline next March but will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Ryanair is also seeking to hire a commercial director who'll handle its route development, negotiations with airports and traffic growth.

Mr O'Leary came under fire from shareholders at the airline's annual general meeting last month. They accused Ryanair as often coming across as too "macho".

The outspoken airline chief conceded that he was probably responsible for that perception and that Ryanair needed to soften its harder edges.

"There's something that we clearly need to improve and we're conscious of it," said Mr O'Leary.

Ryanair was criticised last month after Dublin-based surgeon Muhammad Taufiq al Sattar was charged €188 by the airline to change his flight after he had to travel home to Britain following the death of his wife and three children in a house fire.

Ryanair later refunded the money and wrote to the surgeon to apologise.

Mr O'Leary has long been the frontman for Ryanair, but his brusque and abrasive style has frequently grated with passengers. Still, he's transformed the airline into Europe's biggest low-cost operator, carrying 80 million passengers a year.

"I've always been soft, just a little bit misunderstood," he said.

Irish Independent

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