Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary today denied he was ill after noticeably losing weight in recent months.
Mr O'Leary declared he has “never been better” and played down concerns about his health.
The airline chief executive said his “leaner” look is a sign of the times, with everyone having to work harder during the recession.
He was commenting in the wake of newspaper photographs drawing attention to his weight loss.
“I've lost a bit of weight, and if you look at the two pictures in the paper there's one from September where I was about a stone overweight. I was getting fat, dumb and happy during the good times.
“Now there's a leaner, more caring me for the recessionary times. We are all going to have to lose a bit of weight and work that bit harder,” he told Newstalk's The Breakfast Show.
Mr O'Leary also revealed he has taken a pay cut as a result of the economic downturn.
“At Ryanair, the senior management have taken a significant pay cut, as have I. That's the way it goes. My basic pay has been cut by 10pc and the bonus will be slashed by somewhere in the order of 50pc,” he said.
George Hook is copresenting The Breakfast Show this week in place of Ger Gilroy, while also hosting his own Right Hook programme later in the day.
Mr Hook said his Newstalk bosses had been inspired by Ryanair's no-frills style.
“We are following Ryanair work practices here – I am working double shifts for the same pay,” the presenter joked.
A Sunday newspaper report stated Mr O'Leary had lost his boyish good looks and become grey and almost gaunt.
It referred to sources close to Mr O'Leary who acknowledged he had shed some “excess baggage” but denied it was due to pressures of a year when Ryanair hit more difficult times.
One photo accompanying the article showed Mr O'Leary at the Ryanair AGM in September and a second showed the airline boss at the December 18 meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport.