Stelios’ Greatest Hit

If you ever pick up a copy of The Stage you are bound to be see some small ads announcing that a famous comedy double-act of the 1990′s are looking forward to starring in pantomime in Crewe this winter or one of the big pop groups of the period thanking the staff at the Embassy Theatre in Skegness for their recent sell-out Sunday show. Readers of the financial press might have found the same sense of vaguely melancholic nostalgia in a series of ads run by Stelios.

“Twenty years ago Stelios created easyJet” trumpets the ad.

It then lists some of the other brands of the easy group including easyhotel, easybus, easygym, easyoffice, easyfoodstore and easymoney and asks any company interested in joining the success and licensing one of their brands to contact them.

Any entrepreneur who starts a multitude of new companies will have plenty of failures but, other than easyhotel and easybus, which are really very modest companies indeed, easyJet remains Stelios’ one and only big hit.

The ad boasts that Stelios remains the airline’s largest shareholder but that is hardly the whole story. He did a great job in getting the airline off the ground originally and was wise enough to employ some good people around him to get the nuts and bolts right. When it got to a certain size though, the company started to flounder and it has only really achieved genuine stability and growth since Stelios left. And since he left, he has been a loud critic of the management. There seems to have been a never-ending game of Stelios threatening that he would sell shares if the Board went ahead with some plans, the Board ignoring him, Stelios selling shares and the airline’s profits and share price increasing.

Maybe the easy brand has some huge new project up its sleeve that will once again propel it to stardom. Until then, I am pretty sure Stelios and his family can live very comfortably off the profits of his one big hit.

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