Cathay Pacific boss resigns after protest row

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 16th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –

The chief executive of Cathay Pacific, Rupert Hogg, has resigned in the wake of the protests in Hong Kong.

Mr Hogg said he was taking responsibility as these had been “challenging weeks” for the airline.

Last week, some of its employees took part in the protests in Hong Kong, but China ordered the Hong Kong-based airline to suspend staff who did so.

Cathay's chairman, John Slosar, said it was time to put “a new management team in place who can reset confidence”.

Paul Loo is also leaving as chief customer and commercial officer.

Mr Hogg said: “These have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.”

‘Reputation and brand under pressure'

Last week, Cathay Pacific had told its staff it would not stop them joining the pro-democracy demonstrations currently sweeping Hong Kong.

But on Monday Mr Hogg warned staff they could be fired if they “support or participate in illegal protests”.

Cathay faced pressure online after China's state-run press fuelled a #BoycottCathayPacific hashtag, which trended on Chinese social media.

Beijing's aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), required Cathay to submit lists of staff working on flights going to the mainland or through its airspace.

It also had to submit a report on planned measures to “strengthen internal control and improve flight safety and security”.

Cathay Pacific said that Mr Hogg had been replaced by Tang Kin Wing Augustus and Mr Loo by Ronald Lam.

Mr Slosar said that while Mr Hogg and his team had carried out a three-year turnaround plan, “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,” he said.

The new bosses “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”, he added.

Hong Kong International Airport was closed at times this week in the wake of the massive anti-government protests that have paralysed one of Asia's key transport hubs.