Looks like Rupert Hogg is paying the price for Cathay's response to the unrest in Hong Kong. Will changing the CEO help or might things get worse?
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hogg resigned, a week after the carrier was rebuked by China for staff involvement in the anti-Beijing protests rocking Hong Kong.
The board appointed Augustus Tang, 60, as Cathay’s new CEO, according to a statement from the company Friday. Hogg, 57, resigned as a way of taking responsibility amid recent events, said the airline, Hong Kong’s flag carrier.
Cathay has emerged as the most visible corporate victim of the demonstrations, which have morphed into a full-scale pushback against China’s grip on the city. After Cathay staff took part in strikes and protests, China’s aviation regulator levied a swathe of curbs on the airline, which is increasingly reliant on mainland traffic. Chinese state-owned companies have started boycotting Cathay, telling their workers not to fly with the carrier, and it was excoriated by the nation’s biggest bank. Its stock hit a 10-year low Tuesday.
Hogg took the helm at the 72-year-old carrier just over two years ago, tasked with one of the toughest turnaround jobs in Asian commercial aviation. He was previously an executive with the Swire Group, the Hong Kong conglomerate and Cathay’s largest shareholder.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Photo credit: Rupert Hogg. Hogg is leaving his role as CEO of Cathay Pacific. Paul Yeung / Bloomberg