Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ryanair deputy leaves with £1.9m shares bonanza

Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley has pocketed a going-away fund of €2.3m (£1.9m) after he exercised options at the airline last week in advance of stepping down from his role in March.

A filing with the Irish stock exchange shows that Mr Cawley, who's also chief operations officer at the airline, exercised 500,000 options at €2.56 each, at a total cost of €1.28m.

He then sold them at €7.16 each, resulting in a pre-tax gain of €2.3m. Mr Cawley took advantage of a surge in Ryanair's share price last week, after it reported strong forward bookings but a €35m loss for its third quarter.

Ryanair's shares had fallen steeply on the back of profit warnings, hitting a low of €5.24 back in November. But they jumped again as the third-quarter results were released.

Mr Cawley bought 175,000 shares in Ryanair last November at €5.71 apiece, for a total outlay of just under €1m. Those shares are now worth €1.25m.

The airline executive – who joined Ryanair in 1997 just before it floated on the stock market and who has helped to spearhead its growth since then – retains millions of euro worth of shares in the carrier.

Mr Cawley announced last year that he would step down this March from his role, but remain as a non-executive director of Ryanair.

He is also a non-executive director of gambling group Paddy Power.

He is keen to expand the number of non-executive directorships he holds on a selective basis.

Mr Cawley's role is being split in two.

Ryanair has hired Corkman Kenny Jacobs from moneysupermarket.com in the UK as its chief marketing officer; while the airline's former head of flight and ground operations, David O'Brien, has been made chief commercial officer.

The airline has been revamping its customer service and other aspects of its operations, in a bid to woo families and business travellers.

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