Outgoing Ryanair COO felt like 'dead man walking' - court hears
By Conor Humphries DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair's outgoing chief operations officer Peter Bellew considered himself a 'dead man walking' after a March performance review and resigned after being ordered to work at the airline's Austrian business, he said on Thursday.
By Conor Humphries
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair's outgoing chief operations officer Peter Bellew considered himself a "dead man walking" after a March performance review and resigned after being ordered to work at the airline's Austrian business, he said on Thursday.
Bellew was speaking in court during a case brought by Ryanair
Former Malaysia Airlines boss Bellew denies he is subject to the clause and plans to start working with the British airline at the start of next year after working out a six-month notice period.
The court hearings, which have gone on for longer than the four days initially expected, have included assessments of Bellew's performance and an accusation, rejected by Chief Executive Michael O'Leary, that Bellew was bullied.
Bellew, who was being questioned by his own counsel and Ryanair's, said "shouting and screaming" by O'Leary during weekly management meetings indicated that O'Leary was not entirely happy with his performance.
But Bellew said he was "absolutely shocked and devastated" when O'Leary at a March 2019 annual performance review said that his position as Chief Operations Officer would be reviewed after 12 months unless his performance significantly improved.
Bellew told the court that he understood that to mean he was a "dead man walking."
"I know Michael O'Leary very well and I know when he writes something like that, that's what he means," Bellew told the court. O'Leary last week denied he was trying to force Bellew out, saying if he wanted him out he would have removed him.
Bellew told the court he did not make a final decision to leave the company for several months, assuming that what he described as dramatic improvements in operations due to changes he had undertaken in ground operations, pilot numbers and engineering would be noticed.
He finally decided to leave in July after he had been made an offer by easyJet.
The final straw was when O'Leary took Bellew into his office and told him he wanted him to spend six months addressing issues at Austrian subsidiary Lauadamotion in Vienna, where he has spent much of the past six months.
Bellew said he was devastated that he felt he had to leave as he had planned to stay at Ryanair until retirement.
Bellew told the court that he felt the 2018 share option scheme, which contains the non-compete clause Ryanair is trying to enforce, was obsolete as deterioration in company performance and share price meant it was unlikely to vest.
Most other senior executives were offered a replacement scheme in 2019, but Ryanair says the 2018 scheme is still operable.
Bellew said information he had regarding how Ryanair operates would be of limited use to easyJet as Ryanair operates in a "unique way" and discloses its costs publicly in its annual accounts.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries. Editing by Jane Merriman)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.