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Cathay Pacific CEO resigns amid mounting pressure over Hong Kong protests

Cathay said Rupert Hogg had resigned “to take responsibility as a leader of the company in view of recent events”.

CATHAY PACIFIC CEO Rupert Hogg has resigned, days after the Hong Kong airline was censured by Beijing because some staff had supported pro-democracy protests in the city.

In a statement posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange today, Cathay said Hogg had resigned “to take responsibility as a leader of the company in view of recent events”.

“The Board of Directors believes that it is the right time for new leadership to take Cathay Pacific forward,” Cathay said.

He has been replaced by Augustus Tang, a veteran of the Swire Group conglomerate, Cathay’s main shareholder.

Another senior Cathay executive, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo, also announced his departure and gave the same reason in the statement.

In Cathay’s statement, Hogg was quoted as saying: “These have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.”

Cathay has had a difficult week after it became caught in a hardening of rhetoric from Beijing over ten weeks of anti-government protests that have rocked Hong Kong.

Over the last two weeks the airline emerged as a target on the mainland after some of its 27,000-strong workforce took part in, or voiced support for, the protests.

Chinese state media wrote a series of condemnations of Cathay, accusing it of not doing enough to rein it its workers.

Then China’s aviation regulator demanded that the airline prevent such staff from working on flights to the mainland or those routed through Chinese airspace.

Cathay quickly moved into damage limitation mode and it fired four members of staff associated with the protests – including two pilots – agreeing to comply with the new regulations and releasing a series of statements supporting Hong Kong’s embattled government.

However, it appears none of these moves were enough to save Hogg.

Includes reporting by © – AFP 2019

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