Page 3 Profile: Stelios Haji Ioannou, entrepreneur

 

Another business venture?

The founder of easyGroup, the company that owns easyJet, is to launch a low-cost grocery business. easyFoodstore aims to undercut the prices of low-budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl. Other easy brands include easyHotel, easyCar and easyBus.

Has life always been this easy?

Yes and no. He was handed a tidy sum by his shipping magnate father at the age of 25 with which he set up his own shipping company and then, in 1995, easyJet. But in 1991, an oil tanker owned by his father’s company, which he worked for, suffered a major disaster resulting in the deaths of five people and the spillage of 50,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea. Sir Stelios was charged with manslaughter in Italy. However, the jury acquitted him.

Was he ever in court again?

Yep. In 2009, he brought proceedings to London’s High Court over Ryanair adverts depicting Sir Stelios as Pinocchio and referring to him as “easyJet’s Mr Late Again”. The case was settled out of court, with Sir Stelios receiving an apology and the sum of £50,100, which he announced he would donate to charity.

What are his politics?

Sir Stelios, 46, is a member of the New Enterprise Council, a group that advises the Conservative Party on business policy. He also lives in Monaco for tax reasons.