Well, we had booked our place on the Leeds Chamber lunch at which Michael O Leary was due to speak. We travelled to Leeds Football Ground Elland Road, and took our seats within a rather unremarkable “banquet hall”
We were told that Michael O Leary would be speaking from 12-05 to 1pm, and to his full credit he did exactly that, although it’s fair to say that he does like the sound of his own voice!!
He spoke for around 30 minutes about the Ryanair journey, proceeding to boast and present facts and figures about their performance. (This was only further illuminated to be a boast later on in the hour when he proceeded to quote the repeated statistics but this time the figures were different!) He really (and I mean REALLY) focused on what benefits Ryanair would have if there was no allowed “checked in baggage” and how this would save millions of pounds, and ensure a speedier process, with less losses of bags.
He then went on through a prepared powerpoint slideshow, which must of contained at least 20 slides for a 30 minute speech, so we never actually got to read the *asterisks at the bottom which probably contained the caveats of where the statistics had come from.
Then we moved onto Questions from the audience, of which he openly admitted that he preferred questions from “good looking ladies” The questions he answered covered topics including:
- His management style “I think fear is a good motivator”
- Business Class fares “At ryanair we call them beds and blow-jobs”
- How he buys his fleet “We always buy mid recession, when everyone is cancelling their orders, we take their place on the waiting list”
Finally I asked him “What’s your buying policy” to which he replied “If I understood the question, I would answer it! (Pretty vague response for a guy who heads up an airline who has a budget of over £100 million to purchase each year!) He then proceeded to say that they use the internet massively, and mainly spend their money on “Uniforms and Stationery” (I immediately thought what about your fuel spend?) He also said they buy directly from China (again with no mention of supplier relationships) and have an e-tendering system which they utilise to get the best deal, and they are “always benchmarking prices” he finished the question by saying that they negotiate, and “this is how we keep our prices down”
All in all, an entertaining (if not all of it planned entertainment) from a man who has serious issues, and I would suspect he takes no excuses, he simply carried on regardless once the targets have been set, they are immovable.
It did make me wonder however about supplier selection strategy, what he does about buying fuel, and whether or not the procurement team at Ryanair are making their presence felt enough, as he simply NEVER mentioned the words buyer, or procurement team… It does make you wonder why!