Michael O’Leary is credited with the fabulous expansion of ryanair. Compare his managerial style with Richard Brandson of Virgin and Stelios Haj-Ioannou of Easy Jet. Do you see similarities, differences?
O’Leary is said to have a pugnacious and aggressive management style, using a flat management hierarchy whose ethos is to provide a low cost, reliable and competitive service.
Ryanair decided to hire O’Leary and sent him to the States for studying the Southwest low cost model. He learnt that model and implemented it even in a more drastic way in Ryanair, he is completely focused on cutting cost and becoming more and more efficient and he is always looking for new ways to achieve it.
On the other hand, Stelios is more concerned in expanding the brand and the business model among other sectors or industries that are completely different, like bus services, hotels, internet coffee shops.
So one can conclude that Stelios is more risk taking and O’Leary is quite conservative and never feel himself in enough success. Also we can say that Stelios tends more to delegate more tasks to his employees than O’Leary who set up rules in an authoritarian way, and trust more in bureaucraticy and standardization ways.
Richard Branson is a self made man who was successful before in other business and built his own empire. He is a persistent entrepreneurship who usually takes risk in his business because of his self confidence. Like O’Leary he is also a charismatic man who started from the scratch instead of Stelios who comes from a rich family with influences and got good money to invest from them although some of his first business weren’t so successful.
Is O´Leary a Manager, a Leader or all of this?
To answer this question first of all and due to O’Leary’s personal characteristics in this three dimensions that exceed the ones owned by a regular person, the team found more suitable comparing this dimensions with the ones that other comparable managers have, in this case Branson and Stelios. After analyzing them we narrow down to O’Leary, and then get a conclusion.
They all seem not feeling scare of not succeed their business and some of them are very often moving from one business to another, even if the business itself got nothing to do with the previous ones, this is the extreme case of Branson whose companies have been in very different fields from civil transportation to music stores, mobile phone companies, or even umbilical cord blood stem cells banks (Virgin Health Bank).
Stelios’ empire has quite similar characteristics, he started doing big business with the Troodos Shipping Co Ltd. But we can consider that Stelios’ family was already notably rich when he started doing business. Helped by his father EasyJet started in 1995 and then after three years easyGroup the mother company, holding the other companies, from pizza to cinema to dvd rental, hotels. Note that all his business are largely influenced by the no frills culture. So in deed is one main idea or approach (low cost mentality) is extended to other business under the same underlying principles. That is not the pattern that Richard Branson is following since he is even into extra-terrestrial leisure travels with Virgin Galactic pretty far away from a no frills perspective.
Branson is the more entrepreneur of the three, started trading at a really early age but his relatives were not business man, his father was a judge, Stelios got the tradition of doing business in his family so that might be a primary strong influence. O’Leary moreover was following the regular pattern working for a consultancy firm and then been hired as a Ryanair’s manager, and getting ideas with his travel to the states to study southwest, mixing all of that his knowledge learning abilities and talent, you get the perfect manager for a LCC.
Stelios and Branson seem to be more focused on creating a big brand or empire. Those...
Bibliography: • Case text "Ryanair: Defying gravity"
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