Odd Culture

Michael O’Leary…Is He A Media Genius?

posted by Chris Valentine
Boeing 737, EI-EVZ, Ryanair.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Michael O’Leary is the chief executive officer of Ryanair, a low budget European airline based out of Ireland. Today, he is among the wealthiest businessmen in Ireland. Many people think of him as an arrogant and contradictive person but he is the only famous airline CEO in the world.

Michael O’ Leary has a less than glowing personal profile: In some of his public statements, he is too outspoken, using foul language and personal attacks. He is known for ruthless cost-cutting, and abrasive style of management, and a hostile attitude toward all airport authorities, competitors, governments and even customers.

There is a report against him in 1988 for hostile and aggressive attitude against a woman awarded free flights for life. Another report against O’Leary is his attempt to impersonate a journalist in order to get his hands on information regarding a Ryanair’s safety incident report. When legal proceedings occur as a result of his actions, Michael rarely apologies for his personal attacks. In addition, even a judge has criticized him for lying, stating that O’Leary is lucky enough to not be accused for court contempt.

But is this really Michael? Or is it just a ploy to attract publicity to the airline? He seems to act controversially for the attention For example, he referred to Ryanair’s business class travel as featuring “whores and rum”, provoking much negative reactions during a press conference. He also leaked to the media, plans to remove seats on aircrafts and replace them with standing positions. Although this absurd and ridiculous proposal was illegal, it managed to create a media frenzy of outraged and concerned travelers. Along with this media stunt, O’Leary announced that passengers may be charged to use the toilet on the flight. He later revealed that he never had any intention of implementing this, but it did ensure that Ryanair remained the most talked about airline.

In April 2010, when the whole world worried about the ash coming from the erupting Icelandic volcano, O’Leary stated that the ash cloud is mythical and there is no ash, so the closure of the airspace was loss and absolutely unnecessary. However, the opinion of scientists was contrary to his, as they concluded that the life of the passengers if flying in these conditions is treated due to serious structural damages that might occur in the aircraft. In spite of expert advice, Ryanair continued to fly throughout the crisis. None of the airplanes suffered, so perhaps he was right, but he will be forever remembered as putting profits above the safety of passengers and crews.

The recent Twitter Q&A of the outspoken Ryanair boss attracted the interest of people as well. The first question was regarding Ryanair being voted worst among 100 biggest brands, and O’Leary described this as a “shambles”. The Ryanair Twitter profile itself is a picture of women in bikinis and O’Leary who poses with leprechaun beard and in a green hat with thumbs up. This picture is supposed to give an answer to the questions he gets in Twitter.

Many tweets that complain about the baggage charges, the lack of comfort in cabins, as well as the big distances between Ryanair’s terminals and the cities are left unanswered. However, he answered another question that asked him whether he really plans “to charge passengers for each inhalation they make after take off” with the response that it is a great idea and his team is working on it.

Seeming unaware that all of his tweets can be seen by all Twitter users, he went as far as comparing himself to Jesus regarding his “balls” size, starting a charade with a female tweeter. Obviously, these posts were re-tweeted fast, and the responses were that Ryanair CEO is not a “media genius”, but a “sexist pig”. However, it would seem he is a sexist pig who is also a media genius.

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