Ryanair is to hire a new senior executive to spearhead efforts to create a new, softer image after it was voted the worst of the 100 biggest brands serving the UK market by consumer magazine Which?

The decision comes weeks after chief executive Michael O'Leary promised to transform the company's culture.

He admitting for the first time that a reputation for treating its passengers badly might have become a problem for Ryanair.

The company is to hire a new Director for Sales and Marketing to join an expanded 10-person senior management team and become the company's main spokesman, according to an advertisement on its website.

Mr O'Leary has in the past been Ryanair's de facto spokesman, but at the company's annual general meeting last month he admitted his brash style might be a liability.

The company also advertised for a new Commercial Director. The two roles will cover the areas of responsibility of outgoing deputy chief executive Michael Cawley.