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Cathay Pacific CEO quits after company clashed with Beijing on staff support for Hong Kong protests

Cathay Pacific CEO resigns after the company clashed with Beijing over staff support for Hong Kong protests

The CEO of Cathay Pacific has left his post just days after the Hong Kong airline was censured by Beijing because some staff had supported pro-democracy protests in the city.

Rupert Hogg quit the company with a statement saying the airline needed ‘new management’.

Company chairman John Slosar said Hogg’s exit was because staff support for the Hong Kong protests had ‘called into question’ the company’s commitment to safety and security. 

He said: ‘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.’ 

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific have announced the shock resignation of its CEO Rupert Hogg

In a statement posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday, Cathay said Hogg had resigned ‘to take responsibility as a leader of the Company in view of recent events’.

On Monday, Hogg had threatened employees with ‘disciplinary consequences’ if they took part in ‘illegal protests.’ 

He has been replaced by Augustus Tang, a veteran of the Swire Group conglomerate, Cathay’s main shareholder.  

The airline said Paul Loo had also resigned as chief customer and commercial officer, to be replaced by the head of its low-cost arm Hong Kong Express, Ronald Lam.

The company statement said Hogg and Loo had confirmed they had resigned to take responsibility as leaders of the company in view of recent events and they were not aware of any disagreements with the board.

Cathay, which has been under pressure from the Chinese aviation regulator for staff actions relating to protests in Hong Kong, said it was fully committed to Hong Kong under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and was confident Hong Kong would have a great future. 

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.’