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Matt Cooper: New contract means Ryanair’s ‘O’Leary era’ is still in mid-flight

It’s hard to imagine the Irish airline without its firebrand chief executive – but that won’t be necessary for a while, as his newly inked contract extends until 2028

Michael O’Leary, chief executive, Ryanair: his overall stock in the airline might have been reduced, but his power over decision-making has never waned. Picture: Fergal Phillips

It is hard to think of a major Irish stock market-quoted company that has ever been under the near-complete control of one employee as much as Ryanair is.

There have been very dominant figures at many such firms, but they tended to be large shareholders with stakes that gave them that control, or were as good as controlling. Tony O’Reilly as chairman at Independent News and Media in its pomp comes to mind, as does ...