Ryanair’s operations chief Cawley planning to step down in March

RYANAIR, the low-cost Irish airline, said yesterday that Michael Cawley, joint deputy chief executive and chief commercial officer, is to step down in March 2014.

Cawley said he was leaving to pursue other business interests, but he has been asked by Ryanair chairman David Bonderman to join the board of airline as a non executive from May next year.

The airline said Cawley, who was in charge of the company’s commercial strategy, general operations and its relationships with new routes and airports, would use the next 10 months to help with a smooth handover to his successor.

Cawley joined Ryanair as chief financial officer and commercial director in 1997, the same year that the firm made its stock market debut.

Before that, he was the group finance director of the Gowan Group – the main distributor for Peugeot and Citroen in Ireland – for four years.

Ryanair said it would name a replacement for Cawley – who holds the joint deputy CEO role alongside finance chief Howard Millar – in the coming months.

“I am grateful to Michael for his enormous contribution to the successful growth and development of Ryanair over the past 17 years,” said Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.