HONG KONG (AP) — The CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways resigned Friday following pressure by Beijing on the Hong Kong carrier over participation by some of its employees in anti-government protests.
Rupert Hogg became the highest-profile corporate casualty of official Chinese pressure on companies to support the ruling Communist Party’s position.
Beijing jolted Hong Kong companies last week when it warned that Cathay Pacific employees who “support or take part in illegal protests” would be barred from flying to or over the mainland. Cathay Pacific said a pilot who was charged with rioting had been removed from flying duties.
Hong Kong is in its third month of protests that started in opposition to a proposed extradition law but have expanded to include demands for a more democratic system.
Cathay Pacific needs new management to “reset confidence” because its commitment to safety and security had been “called into question,” company Chairman John Slosar said in a statement.
Hogg resigned to “to take responsibility as a leader of the company in view of recent events,” the statement said.
Augustus Tang, a veteran of the company’s operations in Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia, was named to succeed Hogg, the airline said.