What would Ryanair do without those gusts of hot air from Michael O’Leary? The company has been defined by cheap flights and the streams of absurdities uttered by its chief executive officer. Without O’Leary, Ryanair is nothing more than an uncomfortable seat for the price of a martini. Well, the big guy is planning to step down in two to three years, he said on Saturday. He’s said this before, of course, so we don’t know when his exit will actually occur.
So, how does O’Leary plan to get out? He told RTE radio that he’d love to see Aer Lingus take over his airline. This final, masterful cut seems to be the elusive goal for the CEO. He’s tried it twice and failed both times. But, does he really need it? The innovator has explored standing-room seating, pay to squirt and anything else that’ll make a dime. He even came to the defense of an employee moonlighting as a porn star.
For the finance geeks, O’Leary’s projected retirement date is pretty close to the end of a major capital investment program (in 2011), which is when he said he plans to pay some pretty hefty bonuses to the airline’s management. At that point, he might also ditch his no-dividends policy.