Gate Gourmet boss spent $10m on his birthday party

For his special day in 2002, the businessman had a get together at the Bellagio, one of Las Vegas's most opulent casinos, where the comedian Robin Williams gave him a stand-up routine over dinner. Then guests were treated to a private concert by the Rolling Stones.

The cost of the party, though, is small change to Mr Bonderman, who has an estimated fortune of about $6bn. The investment company he founded in 1993, Texas Pacific, has assets of about $15bn.

The businessman has never shied away from cutting jobs. His first acquisition was Continental Airlines, where he made a cool $635m, but hundreds of staff were laid off.

Texas Pacific bought Gate Gourmet in 2003. The plan was to turn around its losses of about £23m a year and bank a profit. This time his magic appears to have failed.

But the strike chaos has brought misery to the arch rival of one of Mr Bonderman's other business interests. Mr Bonderman is the chairman of the low-cost airline, Ryanair.