Cathay Pacific CEO Resigns

Chinese state media (mainland) was reporting on Friday that the CEO of Cathay Pacific, Mr. Rupert Hogg, has resigned (or perhaps was pushed over).

Cathay Pacific Rupert Hogg

Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong SAR based airline, has faced issues with the mainland China as of late (read more here). The Chinese government has tried to punish the airline for actions taken by its employees. Cathay Pacific has fired two pilots and two other employees this week.

Below is an excerpt from SCMP (access their piece here):

Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg has resigned after the Hong Kong-based airline was swept up in a series of controversies surrounding the involvement of its staff in anti-government protests.

Paul Loo, the chief customer and commercial officer of Cathay, has also stepped down.

The shock resignation was reported by Chinese state-media outlet CCTV on Friday afternoon.

UPDATE: Here’s the media release from Cathay Pacific:

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.”

Here’s the filing that Cathay Pacific made to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange:

Download (PDF, 82KB)

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific is majority owned by Swire (44.99%) and Air China (30%). The latter is part of Star Alliance while Cathay Pacific belongs to Oneworld.

Not sure if it was Mainland China that was pushing for the CEO to resign as this was first reported by their media and Cathay Pacific has not made any official announcements on the topic (update they now have).

These are very turbulent and disturbing times for Hong Kong.