Coyle defects from Ryanair to Aer Lingus

AER Lingus has snapped up one of Ryanair’s rising stars to take the position of chief financial officer.

Seán Coyle was Ryanair’s director of scheduled revenue and the man the airline sent out to face the media in Dublin when it released its annual results earlier this month.

However, it was announced yesterday that he will join Aer Lingus in August.

Mr Coyle, aged 35, said Aer Lingus has “one of the strongest capital structures within the industry to deliver growth and to successfully navigate through the current challenging operating environment”.

Ryanair said it regrets the decision of any employee to depart, but “particularly when they are joining smaller, high-fare competitors”.

Ryanair has a 29% stake in Aer Lingus, which it began building in September 2006 as part of a €1.48 billion hostile bid.

The takeover was blocked last June after the European Commission said the enlarged carrier would come to dominate 35 routes.

Ryanair is appealing the decision.

Mr Coyle, a chartered accountant, joined Ryanair in 1998, working as head of investor relations and commercial director.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: “We are pleased to see Aer Lingus recruit some decent management and hope that Seán will introduce some of the changes we have been calling for in Aer Lingus, such as reducing their short haul fares (which have long risen 5% in the last year) and scrapping their unfair and unjustified fuel surcharges which have been increased five times in the last year.”

Chairman of Aer Lingus, John Sharman, said: “Challenging times bring unique opportunities and we are delighted that Seán is joining us.”

Ryanair shed 10c to €2.71 in Dublin trading yesterday. The shares are down 41% for the year, cutting the carrier’s value to €4.1bn.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus closed down 3.9% yesterday to €1.47. The stock has lost 28% this year, valuing the company at €801 million.


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