Cathay Pacific, which recently posted its first annual loss in eight years, has replaced its chief executive officer.
The Hong Kong-based carrier, controlled by the Swire group, said in a stock exchange filing that Ivan Chu would step aside as chief executive but keep a seat on the board.
Cathay’s chief operating officer Rupert Hogg, 55, will replace Chu as chief executive. Hogg is a Swire veteran who has been with the group since 1986 and Chu has been with Swire for three decades. The moves are accompanied by a reshuffling of the airline’s executive ranks.
Cathay’s recent annual loss came as the airline battles fierce competition and extra capacity from state-owned mainland Chinese carriers, following a fall in business travel, losses from fuel hedging and a strong Hong Kong dollar that has made Hong Kong a comparatively pricey destination.
The airline posted a net loss for 2016 of HKD 575 million (AUD 96.3 million), compared with a profit of HKD 6 billion (AUD 1 billion) in 2015. See: Cathay hammered by first annual loss in eight years
Swire chairman John Slosar paid tribute to Chu’s leadership, saying “Ivan played a key role in the airline’s management during some very good times and, more recently, some difficult and challenging times. In response, he led the team in devising the three-year transformation strategy which will provide the platform for Cathay’s medium term recovery and continued development.”
Slosar also welcomed the appointment of Hogg to succeed Chu.
“He [Hogg] has played a major role as Chief Operating Officer over the last three years and brings commercial focus and a spirit of innovation to our efforts to overcome the well-documented structural challenges facing the airline. He is the right man to lead our team.”
Written by Peter Needham