Update: There are reputable sources suggesting that this may not have actually happened, unfortunately. Hopefully we learn more. Even if it didn’t go down exactly like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t too far off (that he wasn’t willing to comply with orders, and at that point left).
Last Friday I wrote about how Cathay Pacific’s CEO suddenly resigned. Rupert Hogg had been CEO fo the company since May 2017, and by most accounts did a really good job. He had been with Cathay Pacific’s parent company for over 30 years. As he described his resignation:
“It has been my honour to lead the Cathay Pacific Group over the last three years. I am confident in the future of Hong Kong as the key aviation hub in Asia. However, these have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.”
It’s clear that it had been a rough few weeks for Cathay Pacific. For the past few months we’ve seen huge protests in Hong Kong, and Cathay Pacific got caught in the middle of that.
The Chinese government accused Cathay Pacific employees of participating in “illegal protests,” and requested that the airline start sharing all information about employees not only flying to China, but also passing through Chinese airspace.
Apparently this is also what led to Hogg’s resignation. According to media reports, China’s Civil Aviation Administration asked Hogg to hand over a list of Cathay Pacific employees who had participated in the protests.
According to these media sources, he did provide that report… but he put only put his own name on the list. Wow.
I understand that this is a contentious topic. While I have so much respect for what the people of Hong Kong are doing, I also respect that there are many people who are opposed to it.
If these reports are true, I have so much respect for what Hogg has done here. I feel like for the most part there’s such little accountability among corporate executives, especially in the airline industry.
So to see someone stand up for what they believe in and defend their workforce even at the expense of their own career is something you don’t often see in the corporate world.
I had a lot of respect for Hogg before this for how he ran Cathay Pacific, but now I have even more respect for him.
I’d say that any airline would be lucky to have him, though I guess we’ll see how that plays out, since I imagine many airlines wouldn’t want to do something that would so obviously annoy China.