By Shirley Zhao

July 8, 2021

  •  Cathay Director Customer and Chief Risk Officer step down
  •  Carrier still operating tiny fraction of pre-pandemic capacity

Two senior executives at Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. have resigned, as the Hong Kong-based carrier continues to battle its way through the coronavirus pandemic with severely reduced flight capacity.

Cathay Director Customer Simon Large, who was responsible for managing brand, corporate and marketing communications, as well as loyalty programs, will leave on July 31, according to a company memo seen by Bloomberg News. Chief Risk Officer Philippe Lacamp’s last day with the airline will be Aug. 31.

The memo from Chief Executive Officer Augustus Tang didn’t provide a reason for the resignations. The South China Morning Post reported on the moves earlier Thursday, noting that the departures come ahead of Cathay’s traditional rotation of top executives that is said happens every three or four years.

Tang has headed Cathay during a time of unprecedented challenges, taking over from Rupert Hogg in 2019 as the airline found itself embroiled in Hong Kong’s anti-government protests. The demonstrations, which even spread to the airport and temporarily paralyzed operations there, crimped travel and hurt Cathay’s bottom line.

Worse was to come with Covid-19, which has decimated demand for a year-and-a-half. With no domestic market to serve, Cathay’s been hit hard by curbs on international travel and Hong Kong’s strict border and quarantine controls. Its latest traffic figures, for May, showed an improvement from the same month last year, but passenger numbers were still down 99% from May 2019.

Cathay’s shares dropped 1.9% as of 10:28 a.m. in Hong Kong following three days of gains. They’ve fallen 33% since the start of last year. Cathay reported a HK$21.7 billion ($2.8 billion) net loss for 2020, which Chairman Patrick Healy called “the most challenging 12 months of its more than 70-year history.”