Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways said on Wednesday that its Chairman John Slosar had resigned from the board. He will be replaced by Patrick Healy, a long-time executive at the airline’s top shareholder Swire Pacific Ltd. The resignation of Slosar follows the departure of CEO Rupert Hogg last month after the Chinese aviation regulator increased security around the airline and its staff members following anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
(John Slosar and Rupert Hogg)
“I can well appreciate that such volatility can cause concern over what the future may hold, the airline had always been subject to business and geopolitical pressures. Each time we have faced challenging times, we have emerged stronger than ever before. And I do believe this will be the case once again, so have confidence.” John Slosar said in a press statement
Chinas influence over Cathay
“Cathay is only the start. China is sending a message to other corporations in Hong Kong that the same thing can happen to them,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics in Malaysia
The orders that came from China were that the staff who supported illegal protests would be banned from Cathay services to the mainland. Secondly, all Cathay crew needed special approval to enter Chinese airspace.
Third of Cathay business was their mainland connection. It is estimated that they suffered a great financial loss. CNN reported that Cathay’s stock has plummeted nearly 24% since April.
The CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways Rupert Hogg also resigned after the pressure by Beijing on the Hong Kong carrier over participation by some of its employees in anti-government protests. He was replaced by Mr. Augustus Tang, of the Swire Group conglomerate, the carrier’s main shareholder.
John Slosar has worked for Swire and its related companies for 39 years. He has been a top executive at Cathay Pacific for more than a decade. He became its chief executive in 2011, then its chairman in 2014. The airline thrived under his leadership as Asia’s economic growth took off. However, the airline has been pressured in recent years by the rise of budget carriers.
He will be replaced by Patrick Healy who has worked at Swire for 31 years. He is currently managing director of Swire Coca-Cola.