Cathay Pacific CEO steps down amid top management reshuffle

Cathay Pacific Airways said its chief executive officer Ivan Chu will step down on 1 May, and will be replaced by its current chief operating officer Rupert Hogg (pictured).

The leadership reshuffle comes after Hong Kong’s flag carrier posted its first annual loss since 2008 last month and unveiled plans to cut the cost of middle and senior management roles at its Hong Kong head office by 30%.

Under Chu's leadership, Cathay Pacific last year reported a loss of HK$575 million, and has been struggling as a premium airline in the face of stiff competition from new entrants, including budget carriers and Middle East competitors.

John Slosar, chairman of Swire Pacific and Cathay, has paid tribute to Chu's leadership during six years with the airline.

"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," said Slosar.

Hogg, 55, chief operating officer since March 2014 and a 30-year veteran at parent Swire Group, will take over 1 May, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange. Meanwhile, Chu will become chairman of John Swire & Sons (China) Ltd.

Hogg joined the Swire group in 1986 and has worked with the group in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Australia and the United Kingdom.

He will earn an annual salary of HK$4.19 million and will be provided with housing, the airline announced.

He will become chairman of Cathay Dragon and will remain the chairman of the executive committee of Cathay Dragon.

Meanwhile, the carrier eliminated the chief operating officer role.

The group also made three other senior management changes. The airline's director of corporate development and IT, Paul Loo, will serve as chief customer and commercial officer from 1 June.

Greg Hughes, group director of components and engine services at Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO), will take over as Cathay's chief operations and service delivery officer, likewise from 1 June.

Loo and Hughes will both report directly to Hogg.

Cathay Dragon chief executive Algernon Yau, meanwhile, will take on an additional role as Cathay's director of service delivery, again effective 1 June. He will report to Hughes.