It’s Michael Cawley’s last day at Ryanair today – hear the tribute song’s “Michael Cawley-Leaves-Ryanair tribute song” was written on a particularly long travellator ride at Brussels Airport. Vocals by Hill-Hogan, acoustic guitar by Coleman. (In the tradition of Ryanair not all the facts and statements made here are based on any actuality.)

A friend of, Michael “two jobs and two brains” Cawley steps down today (March 21) as Ryanair Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer. Cawley joined Ryanair in 1997 as Chief Financial Officer and Commercial Director (he had two jobs even then) and has been one of the true architects of its emergence from an insignificant Irish regional airline to a market-overturning revolutionary force, carrying the most passengers in Europe. Initially influenced by principles of the US low-cost model, Ryanair went on to completely write its own, totally original business textbook in the European context, bringing air services to hundreds of new and old regional airports, and affordable air travel to almost 100 million travellers.

Cawley did the bulk of the negotiations to often shocked executives at airports across east and west Europe, admitting to “you have to be brave to do business with Ryanair.” He leaves his full-time post with Ryanair as it embarks on a quieter revolution, which puts personalities on the back burner, and switches from its industrial low-cost style message to use the conventional weapons of a soft family-focus, more akin to the techniques used to sell corn flakes, household insurance, and other necessities of life.

Cawley, (allegedly only 59), who became a grandfather in December, is pursuing “other business interests” including a non-executive directorship with online gambling giant Paddy Power (also equally ground breaking and no stranger to controversy) and, although he clears a very old and shabby desk at Ryanair today, he returns to the board of ‘Ryanair II’ as a non-executive director in May.

The totally new, different Cawley, non-exec director Ryanair II


  1. Dave Palmer says:

    good luck for the future Michael! All the best.. Dave P

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