Michael O’Leary has announced plans to step down as chief executive of Ryanair in two to three years. The founder of Europe’s largest low-cost carrier told Irish radio station RTW: “In two or three years’ time I expect to be gone out of Ryanair.”
However the 49-year-old entrepreneur has previously pushed back on several occasions the date of his retirement heading up the airline. Last year he said it had become a “moveable feast”.
In the interview at the weekend, he also hinted that taking over Aer Lingus would be his swansong, after twice failing to take over the ailing carrier.
Mr O’Leary said earlier this month that he was planning to pay substantial management bonuses in 2011 when a large capital investment programme approaches its end and possibly also end his policy of not paying any dividends.
O’Leary was Deputy Chief Executive of Ryanair between 1991 and 1994. In January 1994 he was promoted to chief executive of Ryanair. Under his management, the airline developed the low-cost model, originated by Southwest Airlines. He is also attributed with the birth of ancillary charges and penny tickets.