Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg has resigned and Augustus Tang Kin Wing has been named the new chief of Hong Kong’s flag carrier according to the airline.
The airline’s chief customer and commercial officer Paul Loo has also stepped down.
“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,” said Hogg.
Tang was the director and CEO of Haeco, a Hong Kong-based maintenance, repair and overhaul company owned by the Swire group, since 2008. He joined Swire in 1982 and has worked with Cathay in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Japan.
David Yu, adjunct professor of finance at New York University Shanghai and a Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Opinion contributor, said he is not surprised that a senior manager within the Swire Group has taken over.
“This will be good in terms of longevity and culture. If they chose someone outside the group I would have been shocked. If you look at all their last three to four CEOs, they have all been with the group for at least 20 years,” he said.
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.
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.”
In the past week, Cathay Pacific fired four members of staff including two pilots and two airport employees for their involvement in protest-related actions or incidents.
The Hong Kong International Airport was beset with large-scale protests on Monday and Tuesday this week which caused major flight cancellations and delays. Almost all flights out of Hong Kong airport were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday evening.
Additional reporting by Michael Allen