Kenny Jacobs, the Ryanair chief marketing officer behind the airline's push to boost customer service, is leaving the Irish carrier.
Mr Jacobs joined Ryanair in January 2014 and led the Always Getting Better programme of improvements that it launched to counter perceptions that flying with the airline was a bad experience.
He confirmed yesterday that he would leave Ryanair in early May. “I plan to spend the summer with my family and then do something else,” Mr Jacobs said, adding that it would “not necessarily” be in aviation.
Mr Jacobs was a candidate for chief executive of Ryanair Designated Activity Company, the largest of four individual airlines that make up what is now the Ryanair Group.
His colleague, Eddie Wilson, former chief people officer, was appointed to that post at the end of last year.
Mr Jacobs said he had enjoyed working for Ryanair and was still interested in the industry, but wanted to move on to something else, ideally focused on digital and customer service.
He pointed out that Ryanair’s ancillary revenues – everything from bag charges to hotel room sales and car hire – have grown to €3 billion over the last six years.
Mr Jacobs noted that joining at a time when Ryanair had “missed” digital and launching the Always Getting Better programme was a key highlight.
He acknowledged that a big challenge was dealing with the fallout from Ryanair’s decision to cancel flights in late 2017 following a pilot rostering mix up. “A lot of that fell into my lap,” he said.
Mr Jacobs said he wished Ryanair well and argued that it should stick with its approach of keeping the business simple and low-cost.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary said that Mr Jacobs had transformed Ryanair’s digital presence and customer service.