Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg resigns over Hong Kong protests
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Cathay Pacific’s CEO Rupert Hogg’s shock resignation on Friday has been attributed to Beijing’s censure over airline staff’s participation in the Hong Kong protests. In an official statement released by the airline, Cathay Pacific said Hogg had resigned in order to take responsibility as the CEO of the company in view of recent events.
Cathay’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo also resigned, citing the same reason. The airline has emerged as a target in Mainland China after some of its 27,000-strong workforce participated and supported the protest movement. Cathay Pacific was condemned by Chinese state media for not doing enough to rein it its workers.
This is despite the airline sacking two pilots, and two other staff members over their participation in the protests. In an added measure, the airline has been providing staff manifests to Mainland aviation authorities for every flight utilising its airspace.
But it appears none of these moves were enough to save Hogg, who had been credited with helping to turn the airline profitable after two years of losses.
The airline has borne the brunt of the official government response from Mainland China, but also earned the wrath of Chinese internet users. On China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, the hashtag #boycottcathaypacificairline has racked up tens of millions of views.
Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics in Malaysia, said Cathay’s censure was a warning to other companies that Beijing will not tolerate such dissent.