August 16, 2019: Rupert Hogg, CEO, Cathay Pacific has resigned from his posts of CEO and executive director in the wake of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. He will be replaced by Augustus Tang.
Moreover, Paul Loo, chief customer and commercial officer also resigned from his post. Ronald Lam has been appointed chief customer and commercial officer. He will remain chief executive officer of Hong Kong Express until a successor has been appointed.
“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 [Loo] and I take responsibility as leaders of the company,” Hogg said.
Earlier this week, Cathay Pacific came in the eye of a political storm after it warned of firing employees if they participated in the allegedly illegal pro-democracy protests rocking Hong Kong. The airline was forced to cancel more than 150 flights last week amid a day of mass demonstrations and strikes. This week's protests at Hong Kong's international airport led to nearly 1,000 flights being cancelled.
As the protests escalated and the airport remained shut for two days in a row, the Airport Authority Hong Kong obtained an interim injunction "to restrain persons from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of Hong Kong International Airport" (HKIA). HKIA also informed that Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) will implement access control at the terminal buildings
The board of directors of Cathay Pacific announced that it had accepted the resignation of Hogg and Loo, while appointing Tang and Lam as CEO and chief customer and commercial officer, respectively.
"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," said a statement by the airline.
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. t 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.”
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.”
Hong Kong has been affected by nearly 10 weeks of violent clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters. The protests started as a movement against a now-shelved extradition bill that proposed to extradite suspects to places with which Hong Kong doesn’t have extradition treaties, including mainland China. The protests have since grown to demand full democracy and police accountability.