* COO Rupert Hogg to take over as CEO
* Current CEO Ivan Chu moves to parent firm
* Changes come as airline seeks to cut management costs
(Adds analyst comment)
SHANGHAI, April 12 (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific Airways
on Wednesday said Ivan Chu will step down as chief
executive officer on May 1, and will be replaced by the
airline's current Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rupert Hogg amid
a wider reshuffle of the airline's leadership.
The announcement 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 percent.
Hogg, 55, who was appointed COO in 2014, will also become
chairman of the airline's short-haul arm, Cathay Dragon. His COO
position will be eliminated, the statement said.
Chu, who was made CEO in 2014, will become chairman of John
Swire & Sons (China) Limited, the British-based privately-owned
parent of Cathay's largest shareholder Swire Pacific,
where he will oversee Swire's mainland China investment and
development strategy. He will remain a non-executive director of
Cathay Pacific, the statement added.
"(Chu) 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
Cathay Pacific's chairman John Slosar in a press release.
"The new senior management structure we have announced today
is the fruit of that extensive work and we are confident that it
can take Cathay Pacific to new heights."
Will Horton, Hong Kong-based senior analyst at CAPA Centre
for Aviation, said the replacement of Chu by Hogg had been
expected ahead of the airline's deterioration in performance but
these were faster and broader changes than expected.
"It reflects the urgency to make deep changes and have the
right people in place as soon as possible," he said.
The other leadership changes it made included appointing
Paul Loo, currently director of corporate development and IT, as
chief customer and commercial officer of Cathay Pacific from
Gregory Hughes will join Cathay Pacific as chief operations
and service delivery officer from the airline's sister firm,
Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co Ltd, it said.
Horton said these changes to the senior management structure
also indicated that the company could be taking a different tack
to succession planning.
"Before, once a COO was appointed it was a near guarantee
that person would be CEO. Now there will be a few individuals
right below the CEO and the board can see how they deliver in
their positions," he said.
Shares in Cathay Pacific, which have dropped 14 percent in
the past one year, closed down 0.55 percent on Wednesday versus
a 0.93 percent rise in the Hang Seng index.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed;
Editing by Himani Sarkar)