Friday 22 June 2018

What horses and art tell us about the other side of O'Leary

Ryanair's bombastic boss seems to have forgotten that his business depends on loyalty from customers and staff, writes Liam Collins

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. Photo:
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. Photo:
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

If not exactly the end of Michael O'Leary, this week looked very like the beginning of the end.

Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair, once told me the airline business was basically about moving ''widgets'' - be they aeroplanes or people - from one place to another as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

As events unfolded last week, his former personal assistant and protege Michael O'Leary learned emphatically, if there was any doubt, that the airline business is a people business. Not only are they your customers, they are also your staff, and unless you have the loyalty of those you fly and those who fly them you are in big trouble.

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