HONG KONG: Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways said CEO Rupert Hogg had resigned and named Augustus Tang as the new chief, following a week of scrutiny by the Chinese aviation regulator that has hurt its reputation in the mainland.
Tang was the head of Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company, which like Cathay is managed by Swire Pacific Ltd.
The airline said Paul Loo had resigned as chief customer and commercial officer, to be replaced by the head of its low-cost arm Hong Kong Express, Ronald Lam.
Cathay Chairman John Slosar said recent events had called into question Cathay’s commitment to flight safety and security and put its reputation and brand under pressure.
“This is regrettable as we have always made safety and security our highest priority,” he said in a statement.
“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.”
Hogg said these had been “challenging weeks” for the airline and it was right for Loo and him to take responsibility as leaders of the company.
Hogg’s resignation was first announced by Chinese state television, CCTV.
Cathay, which has been under pressure from the Chinese aviation regulator, 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.
The airline became embroiled in crosswinds between Beijing and pro-democracy groups in the Asian financial hub after some of its employees took part in the Hong Kong protests.
This week, Cathay terminated the employment of two pilots over their involvement in the protests, after being ordered by China’s aviation regulator to suspend personnel who had engaged in illegal protests.