Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways said Wednesday its Chairperson John Slosar has quit, less than three weeks after mounting Chinese regulatory scrutiny led to the shock exit of its chief executive.
The airline has turned into the biggest corporate casualty of anti-government protests after China demanded it suspend employees involved in, or who support, demonstrations that have fallen the former British colony into a political turmoil.
Slosar, 63, will be ousted by Patrick Healy, a long-time executive at the airline’s top shareholder Swire Pacific.
Cathay shares surged 7.2% on Wednesday as media reports that an extradition bill that sparked months of crisis will be withdrawn drove up the market.
Cathay, in a filing to the stock exchange, said Slosar confirmed that his resignation is because of his retirement and that he has not heard of any dispute with the Management of the Company.
Slosar’s latest three-year board term had been due to expire in May 2020 except extended by a shareholder poll, based on regulatory filings, although a spokesperson said his retirement had been planned “for a while.”
His resignation follows the exit of CEO Rupert Hogg in August. Hogg was replaced by Augustus Tang, who had previously headed Swire’s aircraft maintenance firm.
The quitting of Slosar, a former Cathay CEO, and the selection of Healy will take effect after Cathay’s Nov. 6 board meeting.
Cathay said in August forward bookings had decreased sharply as a result of the crisis. Pilots and cabin crew at the airline have described a “white terror” of political accusations, sackings and phone searches by Chinese aviation delegates.
Healy, 53, mentioned in a statement that he was confident in the future of Hong Kong regardless of the current difficulties.