he tumult in Hong Kong has now prompted the resignation of the CEO of one of the city’s most well-respected brands.
On Friday, Rupert Hogg announced that he would be stepping down as Cathay Pacific’s chief executive following a rather rough couple of weeks for the Hong Kong flag-carrier which has found itself thrust into the middle of the anti-extraditions protests that have rocked the former British colony this summer.
China’s aviation authority has ordered Cathay to ban all staff members involved in the demonstrations from flights to the mainland. While the airline had told its staff that it would not bar them from joining the movement, on Monday, Hogg warned that they would be fired if they “support or participate in illegal protests.”
On Wednesday, two Cathay pilots were fired, one of whom that had been arrested and charged with rioting following a demonstration last month where police and protesters clashed outside of China’s liaison office in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Cathay was forced to cancel more than 100 flights on Monday and Tuesday as thousands of protesters swarmed the Hong Kong airport to protest against police brutality. With all the tumult, bookings have also been down for the airline.
“Recent events have called into question Cathay Pacific’s commitment to flight safety and security and put our reputation and brand under pressure,” said Cathay chairman John Slosar in a vague statement explaining Hogg’s resignation. “This is regrettable as we have always made safety and security our highest priority.”
“Cathay Pacific fully supports Hong Kong’s implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and we have full confidence in Hong Kong’s bright future,” Slosar added.