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London, December 18, 2001: FORTUNE Magazine announced today that Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Dublin-based Ryanair, has been named as the FORTUNE European Businessman of the Year. The full story is in the December 24, 2001, issue of FORTUNE, available on newsstands December 17, and at www.fortune.com.

In the first year of this new award, FORTUNE praises O'Leary's no-frills budget airline service for its ultimate low-cost business model; for its ambitious target of flying 9.5 million passengers (up from 7.4 million last year) in 2001, one of the worst years ever for the airline industry; for its 29% profit growth for the six-month period ended Sept. 30 over the same period last year; and for its soaring share price.

"It's not for his Irish charm that we've chosen him," writes Richard Tomlinson of FORTUNE in his profile of the winner. "He wins because Ryanair has beaten up Europe's national carriers during the past year in the best way possible--by offering the region's overcharged, undervalued air passengers a service that isn't a rip-off."

Robert Friedman, FORTUNE's International Editor, explained the decision to announce a European Businessman of the Year: "FORTUNE wanted to honour the single individual who has demonstrated significant commercial success in the past year and has had an impact on the industry in which he or she operates. Michael O'Leary was way ahead of the pack in both respects."

European Businessman of the Year will be announced annually. The winner will be chosen by a panel of FORTUNE editors.

FORTUNE, part of Time Inc., is a leading fortnightly global business magazine and is known for its unrivalled access to industry leaders and decision-makers throughout the world. FORTUNE's European edition, based in London, is dedicated to covering European business news from a global perspective and, with a circulation of 100,000 is the fastest growing business magazine in the region. Founded in 1930, FORTUNE has grown to a worldwide circulation of over one million and a readership in excess of four million.



Heather Tomlinson, PR Manager, FORTUNE Europe

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