Rupert Hogg, chief executive of Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag-carrier airline, has resigned amid ongoing protests in the city that have wreaked havoc on the airline’s scheduled flights as well as its stock price.
The airline’s chief customer and commercial officer, Paul Loo, has also resigned, it said in a regulatory filing with local regulators. Both posts will be replaced by current executives, the company said, and effective Monday August 19.
“Recent events have called into question Cathay Pacific’s commitment to flight safety and security and put our reputation and brand under pressure,” the company’s chairman, John Slosar, said in a press release. “This is regrettable as we have always made safety and security our highest priority.”
The cryptic statement likely refers to reports earlier this week, as hundreds of Cathay flights were disrupted by pro-democracy protests that overwhelmed the airport, which said the airline had threatened to fire any employees who took part in the protests.
In a note to staff on Monday, Hogg said staff who “support or participate in illegal protests” would face disciplinary action that “could be serious and may include termination of employment.”
Shares of Cathay, which trade in Hong Kong, finished the day up about 2% following the news. The stock has been routed during the more than two months of protests, falling more than 20% since June.
“Cathay Pacific is fully committed to Hong Kong under the principle of ‘One Country Two Systems’ as enshrined in the Basic Law,” Slosar’s statement continued. “We are confident that Hong Kong will have a great future.”
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