Rupert Hogg, the CEO of Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific has reportedly resigned on Friday, and though no official reason has been given, many suspect it was due to his slow-to-respond and at times seemingly sympathetic treatment of the protest movement, according to BBG.
A report about the Cathay board accepting Hogg’s resignation appeared on China state TV. No sources were given, but the story was later confirmed by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.
What’s more, SCMP reports Paul Loo, Cathay’s chief customer and commercial officer and a known Hogg deputy, has also stepped down, in what’s beginning to look like a purge.
Both men resigned to “take responsibility as a leader of the company in view of recent events,” the company said in a statement.
“The Board of Directors believes that it is the right time for new leadership to take Cathay Pacific forward,” the airline said in a statement.
Augustus Tang Kin-wing, 60, the CEO of maintenance and engineering company Haeco, was appointed interim CEO of the airline. Haeco is owned by Cathay Pacific’s parent company, Swire Pacific.
Newly appointed HK Express CEO Ronald Lam Siu-por will take Loo’s place as the new chief customer and commercial officer. Cathay Pacific said it would eventually find a new CEO.
The airline said Tang and Lam were “highly experienced executives with long careers at Cathay Pacific” and were “ideally suited to lead the company”.
Cathay was criticized by the mainland government for being to slow to punish employees who chose to participate in the protests, a sign of disloyalty that the Party was not willing to let go. Two employees, and two pilots were fired last week as pressure came to a head, but state-owned companies had started a boycott of Cathay and voiced their displeasure in other ways, making leadership change unavoidable.