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Chris Bryant

Ryanair's Boss Is In Danger of Outstaying His Welcome

Formidable operator isn't as impregnable as he once was.
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Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe

What does a Ryanair flight have in common with a Louis Vuitton handbag? Not much, except the bosses of those companies have been running the show for what seems like forever. Michael O'Leary has been chief executive of Ryanair Holdings Plc for almost a quarter century, or about six times longer than the median tenure for European corporate leaders, according to Bloomberg data. 

The Irish airline is different, of course, from the Parisian luxury houses in that it's not a family-run affair. But O'Leary does hold 4 percent of Ryanair's stock and -- like fellow long-timer Martin Sorrell at WPP Plc -- it's been impossible to view the company separately from the man. Yet he's looking far from impregnable right now.