In this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek, Felix Gillette offers a profile of Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair whose public, Machiavellian cost-cutting proposals have made him a quote goldmine. In this article alone, O’Leary proposes ditching the co-pilot in favor of a single captain, and having passengers handle their own baggage on the tarmac.
Gillette calls O’Leary “id of the airline business,” which feels even more appropriate given the two occasions in the story where he equates flying with a sexual experience. He also proposes standing seats, an idea he’s been pitching to the press for some time. NPR’s Marketplace reported on the ideas in the profile with accompanying clips from the movie, Airplane!, where a passenger has to land a plane with the help of Leslie Nielsen because the pilots are incapacitated.
O’Leary’s foibles are well documented but he was in the press most recently when he lost a libel suit for portraying the head of competitor EasyJet as Pinocchio, elongated nose and all, in an advertisement. The Telegraph is even publishing a book of O’Leary quotes, one of which features an O’Leary annual earnings meeting where he describes his two deputy CEOs as “presently making love in the gentleman’s toilets, such is their excitement at today’s results.”