Michael O’Leary to remain Ryanair CEO until 2028

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Ryanair Holdings, which includes Ryanair, Buzz, Lauda, and Malta Air, announced that it will be led by Michael O’Leary until July 2028. The current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the low-cost carrier previously had a contract until July 2024. 

The airline group confirmed the renewal of O’Leary’s contract on December 7, 2022, also indicating that Anne Nolan will be joining the Group’s board as a non-executive director (NED) with immediate effect. O’Leary, meanwhile, will continue to hold the reins of the carrier. The executive rose to the position back in 1994, following a six-year stint of being Ryanair’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 

Overseeing Ryanair’s growth 

The CEO will attempt to lead the airline to its ambitious growth targets, including achieving the goal of carrying 225 million passengers per year by 2026. 

O’Leary already oversaw Ryanair’s growth spur from the mid-1990s, when the airline, carrying just shy of 1.5 million passengers per year grew to an operation that includes several airlines with 519 aircraft, and flying 97 million passengers in FY2022, ending on March 31, 2022. Pre-COVID, the number was 149 million, according to Ryanair’s annual report from FY2021. 

“The board are also pleased that Michael O’Leary has agreed to extend his leadership of the Ryanair Group to July 2028,” stated Stan McCarthy, the Chairman of Ryanair. “During this time Michael will oversee the Group’s growth to 225m passengers p.a. and, with Board support and oversight, develop the Group’s strategy to the end of the decade.” 

McCarthy added that the extension is subject to the adoption of an amended Remuneration Policy, which will be brought forward to the group’s shareholders during the next Annual General Meeting (AGM). 

The new contract will also grant an extension date to O’Leary’s share options, which were set to expire in 2024. The CEO will be able to purchase shares at a price of €11.12 ($11.69) if Ryanair achieves its targets, namely profit after tax (PAT) of €2.2 billion ($2.3 billion) and a share price of €21 ($22). Currently, Ryanair’s stock at The Irish Stock Exchange (trading under Euronext Dublin) is priced at €13.05 ($13.72) as of writing. 


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