Cathay Pacific Chairman Resigns

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific

A few weeks ago Cathay Pacific’s CEO suddenly resigned, and now Cathay Pacific’s Chairman is resigning as well.

John Slosar Resigns As Cathay Pacific Chairman

It has just been announced that Cathay Pacific Chairman John Slosar will be “retiring” as of November 6, 2019.

For those of you not familiar, 62 year-old Slosar has been at Swire Group (Cathay Pacific’s parent company) for nearly 40 years. He was Cathay Pacific’s CEO from 2011 to 2014, before being appointed Chairman.

The Board of Directors has appointed Patrick Healy to the role of Cathay Pacific Chairman. He has been at Swire Group since 1988. He’s currently the Managing Director of Swire Coca-Cola Limited, and will maintain that role, responsible for the Group’s worldwide beverages business.

What Executives Are Saying

Slosar had the following to say regarding his retirement:

“Being the Chairman of Cathay Pacific has been the greatest of privileges for me. I would like to thank the entire Cathay team for their support, commitment and friendship during my years as part of that team. They are always at their best in challenging times, when their dedication really shines through. Pat is a strong and experienced executive, having successfully led a number of different Swire businesses. He is creative and customer-focused, and I am sure he will lead Cathay Pacific to new heights.”

Healy had the following to say about his new role:

“I look forward to working closely with CEO Augustus Tang, my long-term Swire colleague, his talented team and the entire Board of Directors. Together, and with the support of the Cathay team, we will ensure that our airlines focus relentlessly on safety, on enhancing the travel experiences of our customers, on being efficient in everything that we do, and on competing effectively to create positive business performance.”

Merlin Swire, the Chairman of Swire Pacific, said the following:

“I would like to thank John for his tremendous contributions to the company over the past 39 years. Under his leadership as the Chief Executive Officer and then as Chairman, Cathay has built on its already enviable reputation for quality service and the extensive global network which underpins the success of Hong Kong as Asia’s largest international passenger hub. The three-year transformation programme now nearing completion leaves Cathay well-positioned for continued growth in the future.”

What Does This Mean For Cathay Pacific?

Cathay Pacific has had an incredibly tough few weeks, reflecting the challenges that have gone on in Hong Kong for months now.

Hong Kong Airport ended up being shut down due to protests, and China ended up using the airline as a way to get some control, by trying to get Cathay Pacific to punish workers who had participated in protests.

So while perhaps not direct, it does seem that a lot of changes at the top are being made to appease China, and to create a sacrificial lamb.

With that in mind, I have a few general takeaways here.

First of all, I find the public message from Slosar to be interesting. When Hogg resigned, he said the following, in part:

“These have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.”

While likely just political, the tone here is different, as if he just happens to be retiring right now. There’s nothing about taking responsibility for what has happened.

Second of all, I find it interesting that Swire Group is clearly succumbing to pressure from China, though they’re just replacing current executives with other people within the company.

Swire retains their talent well, and all of these executives have been at Swire Group for decades.

It sure seems like the “retiring” and “resigning” executives are just being used as sacrificial lamb. The company is replacing the current executives with other executives from within the company, who likely have similar philosophies.

What do you make of the resignation of Cathay Pacific’s Chairman?

Comments
  1. Sure, lots of similarities and synergies between carbonated soda drink business and airlines, they are nearly identical 😀

  2. Next News: Cathay decides to close all Cathay First class lounges and deny access to Emerald Members from UK and North America

  3. And yet we have two avowed Communist sympathizers (Warren Wilhem and Bernie Sanders) running for President of the US.

    If what we’re seeing in Hong Kong doesn’t remind you that Communism is BAD then I can’t help your stunning lack of ignorance.

  4. Goes to show Cathay’s senior management was ignorant of international politics. How clueless could they be? Businesses should always stay out of politics. You should never bite the hand that feeds you. It’s really just common sense. Mr Slosar as the Chairman and Mr Hogg as the CEO should have known better. There is a legitimate security concern here. Who knows what the staff or pilot can do to sabotage China and its people? I don’t think China is being harsh here. It’s just pure stupidity from Cathay Pacific to meddle with politics in the first place.

  5. The real question is, who are the Swire family? Airlines, soft drink business’. What else is in their portfolio?

  6. Anthony:

    How are they meddling in politics? Wouldn’t firing pilots and flight attendants for political reasons be meddling in politics? Wouldn’t caving to China’s demands be political involvement? And sabotoging china?

    Clearly you’re just another mainland troll, or brainwashed nationlistic robot.

  7. Lucky/Tiffany:

    What ever happened to the policy you introduced a few months about moderating comments and deleting those that are inappropriate. I see one candidate in this set of comments.

  8. I can’t believe how fast this airline has fallen. I can see CX announcing new daily flights to Pyongyang next.

  9. @neil, that’s only aimed at people who post negatively about lucky/lucky’s writing/lucky’s (lack of) principles.

  10. @ neil — If you see something we’ve missed, we always appreciate getting a heads up, as we do get thousands of comments a day. We’ve tried to catch anything particularly egregious, though for the most part people have kept the discourse decent on this topic pretty civil.

  11. If you agree with Jason, you have a very limited understanding of communism, socialism, what’s happening in HK and just logic in general.

  12. @Tiffany
    Appreciate your response but how should one report an inappropriate comment to you. Is there an email address to do so.
    I feel it’s better not to do so in the comment section of the post itself as that will likely only inflame the situation.
    And since you have my email address, feel free to contact me privately.

  13. Appointing a guy who sells sugar-water to run a major Asian carrier. That won’t end well. Just look at what John Sculley (Pepsi) did to Apple Computer.

  14. @mike – By your logic, you must be a Trump or Fox troll.

    I was simply saying that if you are a business owner especially a multi National like Cathay Pacific, you don’t make any political comment nor make public your political leanings . Politics and business don’t mix . The Business must comply with local politics and law .

    Before CCAC stepped in, Cathay did not take action to suspend 2 pilots who had involved in vandalism (in the name of protests) and attacking Hong Kong Police and Cathay did not take action to fire the staff who had leaked out customers information (in this case, customers were the Hong Kong Police). That’s not enough, Cathay even made statements out to support their staff engaging in the HK protest. If I were China, I would be very worried too because we’re talking about flight safety here. Would US allow any ISIS sympathizers to drive an aircraft full of Americans? I think not. It is not “white terror” when these clients turn their back on you…it’s called capitalism. Capitalism is normally paired with democracies so hard to have one without the other.

    Next time, if you write something to rebuke me, please make sure that you have valid and sensible arguments rather than just calling someone a troll.

  15. OK now-I voted for Trump and I watch FOX. I also have a right to be in any conversation without being attacked for my beliefs.

    So Anthony, you may be right, but your attack is pig-headed.

    I imagine you prefer the term “whilst” over “while”, so why don’t you concern yourself with your own failed politics as opposed to that of the two you let get away.

    (For those scratching your heads: USA and Hong Kong)

    If I’m wrong in my guess at your heritage then pardon me. But you still need to be more thoughtful in your discourse if you want to be taken seriously.

    Now to Cathay Pacific, because that is what this thread is all about.

    I am thankful that my AA and Alaska miles are depleted. It’s been a great 4-5 year run with great 1st and Biz class seats for just paying attention to what cards I am applying for and what spend I am putting on those cards. I would still fly upfront with CP because I am a capitalist and I don’t hurt employees because of the policies of their bosses. But as luck would have it and due to always trying to be ahead of the curve, I have about 9 more years to use all of my Korean miles transferred before Chase closed the door.

    What is happening in Hong Kong is extremely important and I am on the side of democracy. Luckily the choice to not fly there currently has already been made.

  16. Sheesh, so who wants to be the next Cathay executive? Getting a senior leadership job there is like painting a target on your back and volunteering to walk the plank.

    To the new guys: Don’t unpack your things, and keep the bailout bag nearby!

  17. Anyone who equates those who might support pro-democracy supporters with ISIS is an idiot or is on Beijing’s payroll (probably both).

    Once you start that comparison, you have zero credibility, and are by definition, a troll.

    Stalinists are pretty easy to spot. And laugh at.

  18. I’m with Daniel, leave it at that! 🙂 I support Freedom for all. I am concern locally in Hong Kong , Globally for Peace, Equality, and Justice.

    That said. What about this game on this blog we play on traveling well? I have Alaskan miles CX 1st JFK-HKG to start RTW20 1.0. Then BA Avios CX Biz on A350 – 1st Time – to Perth. Next March!

    Plus working credit card spend for another 1st ticket next summer 🙂 close but outrageous compared to Alaska 😉

    Anyway, maybe because I already ranted at a neighborhood advisory committee about cheesy presenters. Lol losing cause 🙁

    So I’ll try and ask you leave the drama elsewhere and enjoy Flying above our pay grade 🙂

  19. Totally unnecessary for people with differing viewpoints to call each other names. This is America…not China.

    CX did NOT make any political statements at the press conference the day after their interim report was released. Rather, they simply said the company, “…wouldn’t dream…” of telling staff “…what they have to think…” (Fortune) Any “implications” were solely done by the media, who needed to sell clicks.

  20. @ modesassion : Wow stupid name calling again! Pig-headed? Is that the democracy and freedom which you claimed that you treasured by calling someone with a different opionion pig-headed? Let me tell you what true democracy is, which is “Respectfully agree to disagree”. Engaging in name calling of different opinion is really low and petty.

    What does my heritage has anything to do with what I said? Isn’t America a free country embracing people from different backgrounds and upholding freedom of speech? It’s not up to you to say if people would take my point seriously. Any objective and reasonable person would have known that the main role of any public listed companies’ CEOs is to maximize shareholders’ value. 70% of Cathay’s traffic comes from mainland China. Staying totally silent would have been the safest course to stay free from Beijing’s wrath.

    Again, my point is politics and business don’t mix. Anyone with any experience or common sense would understand you shouldn’t make statements that your clients find insulting. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Cathay should have suspended the 2 pilots that were arrested and fired the staff who had leaked customers information to the HK media. Cathay should have stayed far away from making any public statement to support the HK protest if it still wants to do business in China. Mr Slosar put his foot in it and Cathay is paying a huge price for that now.

  21. @Austin Houston – How naive and stupid you are by calling the HK rioters pro-democracy protesters! Western media is totally biased. Do you know that those so-called pro-democracy protesters want absolute Freedom and Democracy so that they can say and do anything they like including breaking the rule of law, damaging properties, setting fire to property/barricades, attacking passengers and the police force with petrol bombs/molotav cocktail, denying other people’s freedom of using the airport, subway stations, etc….Thumbs up to them! No others have that kind of freedom and democracy that they have now. These protesters have deep hatred for the mainland Chinese. If I were China, I would want these franatics to stay far away from my airspace too.

    Haha calling me a Stalinist and troll will not change the fact that these franatics may sabotage a plane full of mainland Chinese passengers should opportunities arise. If US will not allow any ISIS or Al-Qaeda sympathizers to fly a plane full of Americans, China certainly has the right to prohibit any of the franatic Chinese-hating Cathay pilots from piloting a plane full of mainland Chinese.

  22. He should hang his head in shame for acting as a lackey of the communists by firing staff who used their human right to demonstrate.

  23. @Louis – You are completely correct. The former CX leaders did not make any political statement, but for some, they did by not “controlling” their employees’ speeches. That’s typically “comrade” thinking/logic. Mr. 689, the former chief executive of HK, was one of the first to criticize CX leadership. I guess it’s a revenge on the mess his entitled daughter created a few years ago on a CX flight when he was still the chief executive (may I suggest communist privilege?) and was covered widely by all media in HK?

    I will continue to fly CX and support them, because if CX fails, it will be a win for the communist China. They want to take CX over for a long time, just like they want to take over pretty much everything in HK. In my opinion, we cannot let this happen.

  24. Well at least the Chairman and the CEO resigned as they disagreed with the direction that the airline is taking. Hopefully the employees who are unhappy with the Airline would do the same instead of sabotaging the airplane systems such as the oxygen tanks. I centainly do not want to risk my safety over the actions of disgruntled employees that would result in a plane going missing like MH370 or crashing into Shanghai Tower or the International Commerce Centre just like 9/11.

  25. @Daniel…

    I can assure you that I know more than enough about Communism to know that it is a bad thing.

    It doesn’t work, will never work and anyone who says “you don’t know what real Communism/Socialism is!!!” like you just did tells me that YOU are the person who needs an education.

  26. Look what we got here, a bunch of wankers working away on the keyboard thinking their opinions actually matter. Like it or not, China is the one with power here and they can do whatever the fuck they want, including squishing CX like an ant with their pinky. Next time, do some research before you think your lofty ideals and virtue signalling will do a damn thing against the gargantuan machine that is the state.

  27. LOL @Jason: “I can’t help your stunning lack of ignorance.”

    If you’re going to accuse people of being ignorant you might at least try to write coherently, idiot.

  28. @EBWaa Thanks for the editorial review. Unfortunately I couldn’t edit the comment after it was posted but I’m pretty sure you get the point, right?

    If you didn’t get the point then I shall restate…Communism is BAD and people who think that Communism is good are ignorant.

    Chat soon…

  29. Good Riddance. Cathay asked for it. How can their management be so dumb and irresponsible. They need to pay the price for their stupidity, endangering the lives of travelling passengers: it’s plain common sense – pilots and air hostesses are not supposed to engage in any such anti-social activities that are in direct conflict with their day-to-day jobs. Airports are a virtual home for pilots and air hostesses. There is no better example of a direct conflict of interests. It’s incumbent upon any Airline employer to immediately fire any of their airline employees who participate in such anti Govt rallies associated with rioting, arson and destruction of public property. Not doing so, geometrically increases the risks to all flights and their passengers. These airline personnel have direct access to security areas within the Immigration area and to critical areas on the aircraft’s in which they fly. What’s to prevent delinquent airline personnel from carrying out sabotage or acts of terrorism. Today it’s protesting and rioting at the airport terminal, tomorrow these radicalised nut cases could carry an offensive weapon or explosives on to the aircraft. Simply cannot be tolerated. They are free to resign from their jobs and become professional rioters. If not they should be fired forthwith and banned from the airlines. Senior management at Cathay who didn’t display simple common sense and responsibility to allow this to happen should also be placed under scrutiny for their sheer incompetence.

  30. Don’t blame China for Cathay Pacific’s mismanagement and downfall. Chinese authorities, CAAC had already given CX the choice. Don’t fly into mainland China’s airspace and CX doesn’t need to comply with their directives. This was very clearly stated. Their country, their law.

  31. I was indeed surprised it took that long to let go of Slosar. After all, Slosar was the one who said CX employs thousands of people and he wouldn’t think of telling them what they have to think about something . That was, of course, correct in principle … Except that some of his employees were posting their personal views on company assets, announcing their personal views on CX flights and divulging travel details of passengers they didn’t like, rioting and throwing bricks to the police. That’s a huge lapse of judgment even for ordinary folks, let alone the Chairman of a company like CX!

  32. Uh, the “…damaging properties, setting fire to property/barricades, attacking passengers and the police force with petrol bombs/molotav cocktail, denying other people’s freedom of using the airport, subway stations…” has largely been done by the HK Police first. The reason people were walking to/from HKG the other day was because the POLICE blocked the roads, then turned around and blamed the protesters. (HK Free Press, Bloomberg)

    China absolutely, “…has the right to prohibit any of the franatic Chinese-hating Cathay pilots from piloting a plane full of mainland Chinese.” Unfortunately, none have gone to fair trial and been convicted of doing so.

    @G Sadly, China already owns over 30% of CX…and they already were bad for a very long time.

    The, “…sabotaging the airplane systems such as the oxygen tanks,” still doesn’t correlate to a safety issue. Very strange that it only occurred on one or two obscure routes.

  33. @Louis: Regardless of who did what first, these rioters despicable behaviour of denying other people’s freedom of using the airport and subway stations should be condemned and not encouraged.

    Are you serious that we should wait until China encountered another US 911 style attack before CAAC can exercise its right to ensure its people’s safety until the so-called fair trial and conviction is done?? Your double standards of US can do something to protect Americans while China cannot do the same thing to protect the mainland Chinese is sickening and disgusting. I would say that hypocrite really knows no bounds!

  34. @Louis : Ask CX and any Airlines that if “sabotaging the airplane systems such as the oxygen tanks” is not a safety issue please. If it isn’t, CX would not have contacted the police to deal with those 3 incidents (not just 2 as you claimed) and suspend all the crew for those 3 flights for further investigation.

  35. The HK protesters were acting against a court injunction order. HK Police was blocking their way to shut down the HKG again to protect cilvilian’s right of using the HKG.

    For more neutral reporting. I suggest you to read South China Morning Post.

  36. Louis – You know fair trial and conviction is a lengthy process and it ultimately may not be fair at all. Meanwhile, we Hongkongers have been harassed, bullied and even beat up by these so-called pro-democracy radicalized nut cases because we don’t share their views! Enough is enough!! Anthony is right, over the past 3 months we had witnessed these rioters ‘damaging properties, setting fire to property/barricades, attacking passengers and the police force with petrol bombs/molotav cocktail, denying other people’s freedom of using the airport, subway stations’ and group shaming and bullying anyone who dared to have a different stance them! Simply cannot be tolerated. I fully support HK Police to crackdown any violent rioters engaging in disrupting ordinary HK folks living.

  37. HK police did not “damaging properties, setting fire to property/barricades, attacking passengers and the police force with petrol bombs/molotav cocktail, denying other people’s freedom of using the airport, subway stations”. It was the protesters/rioter who had thrown the first punch. Twisting the stories won’t help the protesters/rioters’ cause.

  38. ABSOLUTELY, the “…rioters despicable behaviour of denying other people’s freedom of using the airport and subway stations should be condemned and not encouraged.” BTW, the “rioters” in this case were HK Police. (SCMP)

  39. @ Louis – What you said is illogical and laughable! If the rioters/protesters did not throw the first punch, why would the police have to take the counteract measures. I read SCMP every day and never read anything about the police being the rioters. Please Do Not spread Fake News.

  40. @Emmanuel: I also agree that Mr Slosar should have been ousted before Mr Hogg. Mr Slosar’s speech during the press conference was the last straw which triggered all the responses from China thereafter.

  41. Slosar’s speech at the H1 press conference left a lot to be desired. It gave CX employees a wrong hint that they could use CX as a backup to express their anti-China political inclinations and seemed tacitly encouraged the protest. This is very dangerous for any business that wants a foothold in China, let alone an airline like CX, which has most of its revenue coming from the Chinese market.

  42. Seems like most of the comments here have little or no sympathy for Slosar and rightly so. His obtuse political acumen made him the wrong person to lead Cathay Pacific to steer clear of the political turmoil in HK now.

    But I was lucky to score a round trip CX Business Class reward flight YYZ to HKG for this Christmas. Hopefully, all the mess in HK will be settled by then. Cheers.

  43. @Peter: LOL, calling someone who has a different opinion from you a troll is pathetic and nonsensical! Like I said before, name-calling is petty and low. You cannot even write coherently with cogent and sensible arguments to substantiate your case.

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