Cathay Pacific CEO in shock resignation

Image Source: Cathay Pacific

The British CEO of Cathay Pacific has resigned over participation of some of it’s workers in the Hong Kong protests. Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Paul Loo has also resigned. The news was announced on Chinese state media, rather than through Hong Kong business channels.

Last week China warned Cathay Pacific that employees that “support or take part in illegal protests” would be prevented from flying to or over mainland China. Cathay has also fired two pilots and two ground staff after being ordered by China’s aviation regulator to suspend employees who protest. The Chinese aviation regulator has also demanded the airline hand over the details of all staff flying over mainland China.

Rupert Hogg’s resignation comes three years after he took over the role. He will be replaced the chief executive of Hing Kong Aircraft Engineering, Augustus Tang. Last week Mr Hogg sent an email to employees warning they faced possible sacking if they took part in protests.

The Chairman of Cathay, John Slosar said, “Rupert Hogg and his team executed the three-year Transformation Programme which has been important to Cathay Pacific’s recovery and provides a strong platform for continued development. However, recent events have called into question Cathay Pacific’s commitment to flight safety and security and put our reputation and brand under pressure. This is regrettable as we have always made safety and security our highest priority. We therefore think it is time to put a new management team in place who can reset confidence and lead the airline to new heights. Cathay Pacific is fully committed to Hong Kong under the principle of ‘One Country Two Systems’ as enshrined in the Basic Law. We are confident that Hong Kong will have a great future.”

Mr Hogg said, “It has been my honour to lead the Cathay Pacific Group over the last three years. I am confident in the future of Hong Kong as the key aviation hub in Asia. However, these have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.”

There are reports that some Chinese companies are boycotting Cathay for safety reasons. Over one fifth of Cathay’s flights go to the Chinese mainland.

The biggest shareholder in Cathay is UK trading house Swire Pacific, with the second largest shareholder the state owned Air China. Qatar Airways also holds a stake. Swire also owns Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company.

Cathay’s statement in full:

Cathay Pacific Announces Senior Management Changes
Friday, August 16, 2019 — Cathay Pacific announced today the following management changes, effective from 19th August:

Mr. Augustus Tang appointed Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Mr. Rupert Hogg.

Mr. Ronald Lam appointed Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, succeeding Mr. Paul Loo. Ronald Lam will remain Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Express until a successor has been appointed.

The Board of Directors of Cathay Pacific announced that it has accepted the resignation of Rupert Hogg as Chief Executive Officer and Paul Loo as Chief Customer and Commercial Officer. At a Board meeting today, Augustus Tang was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Ronald Lam was appointed Chief Customer and Commercial Officer. The Board of Directors believes that it is the right time for new leadership to take Cathay Pacific forward and that Augustus Tang and Ronald Lam, both of whom are highly experienced executives with long careers at Cathay Pacific, are ideally suited to lead the company.

John Slosar, Chairman of Cathay Pacific, commented, “Augustus Tang and Ronald Lam have the experience and depth of knowledge of aviation and our people to be strong and effective leaders of Cathay Pacific at this sensitive time. Hong Kong is a fantastic home for our airline. It is a world class city and has a premium airport which is the biggest international passenger and cargo hub in Asia. Cathay Pacific has a relentless focus on standards of safety and care, and an unrivalled reputation for customer service.”

Mr. Hogg stated, “It has been my honour to lead the Cathay Pacific Group over the last three years. I am confident in the future of Hong Kong as the key aviation hub in Asia. However, these have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.”

Mr. Slosar added, “Rupert Hogg and his team executed the three-year Transformation Programme which has been important to Cathay Pacific’s recovery and provides a strong platform for continued development. However, recent events have called into question Cathay Pacific’s commitment to flight safety and security and put our reputation and brand under pressure. This is regrettable as we have always made safety and security our highest priority. We therefore think it is time to put a new management team in place who can reset confidence and lead the airline to new heights. Cathay Pacific is fully committed to Hong Kong under the principle of ‘One Country Two Systems’ as enshrined in the Basic Law. We are confident that Hong Kong will have a great future.”

Other Cathay press release on the Hong Kong protests:
Pilot Terminations
Cathay condemns disruptive behaviour at Hong Kong Airport
Cathay strongly supports HKSAR government

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