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O’Leary’s steel behind Ryanair charm offensive

Festival and Fringe events have been tough for businesspeople to resist. Picture: Getty

Festival and Fringe events have been tough for businesspeople to resist. Picture: Getty

“Free wine and food from Ryanair, you haven’t seen that before.” Not the words of cynical hacks, but the budget carrier’s own head of corporate travel Lesley Kane.

The Irish airline is on a charm offensive, first scrapping its famous no-frills customer service style earlier this year, and now laying on booze and canapes for journalists and industry figures at an evening bash in the National Museum of Scotland.

The company is launching a raft of daily flights between the Scottish capital and London Stansted in October, and later this month it will start selling a package aimed at business passengers.

It’s all quite a turnaround for a company whose chief executive has described customers that forgot to print boarding cards as “stupid”. Its marketing staff admit they are unused to arranging corporate events and were caught out by Edinburgh’s Festival and Fringe – they had to fly back to Dublin on the same day, accommodation having proved impossible to find.

Fans of the carrier’s low-cost tickets needn’t worry too much – an industry insider told The Scotsman that Michael O’Leary remains as ruthless as ever when negotiating behind closed doors.

Never a desk-bound boss

IT SEEMS things are going great guns at specialist recruitment company PRG, but if needs must, owner and chief executive Steve McCutcheon has alternatives to fall back on.

Previously located in Bath Street, the firm officially opened its new Glasgow office in West George Street on Thursday. Prominent among the myriad of meeting rooms was Steve’s top-floor office, complete with an expansive desk, an eight-seat meeting table, two three-seater sofas and a kitchenette (though the latter was still awaiting appliances).

But during the first three weeks in West George Street, Steve held just one meeting in his 800 square foot retreat, spending most of his time instead downstairs on the trading floor. A quick scan of the lettings websites suggests this lovely space could bring in rental income of several hundred pounds per month should the recruitment market go off the boil.

Ways out of a fine mess

BTO lawyers Laura Irvine and Lindsay Urquhart are taking to the Fringe to shout about the firm’s data protection team with a show called £500,000? Fine! Why Data Protection Matters.

Taking place on 19 August at 11am and 20 August at 12:30pm at Fringe Central, the duo will discuss how Fringe acts and organisers can avoid the fine of up to £500,000 for those who don’t take good care of personal data.

It follows the firm’s victory last year, when it saved Scottish Borders Council £250,000 with the first successful appeal against a penalty notice for a data breach.

School trip to Japan

Shetland Catch’s John Angus and the Scottish Salmon Company’s Su Cox are among a school of businesspeople joining a fishing expedition to Japan this week.

A Scottish delegation which also includes Denholm Seafoods boss Robert Duthie and Clare Dean of Seafood Scotland, among others, is attending the Japanese Seafood Expo in an attempt to make gains in the country.

Flying out with them will be a selection of mackerel, herring and salmon destined for a private lunch with the influential All Japanese Chefs Association.

 

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