The Next Cathay Pacific Executive Is Out: Chairman John Slosar Will Be “Retiring” In November 2019

After the recent resignation of Cathay Pacific’s CEO two weeks ago the company announced today that their Chairman Mr. John Slosar (63) will be retiring at the conclusion of the next board meeting on 6 November 2019.

The retirement of Swire Group veteran Slosar who has been CEO of Cathay Pacific in the past has not been previously announced. A replacement has already been appointed.

Cathay Pacific is going a rough patch at the moment which we reported about on multiple occasions.

The carrier found itself in the hot seat amidst the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong with the mainland China government pressuring the airline to get tough on employees who participate or sympathize with the protests.

When arriving in China staff reported that the authorities have searched their cellphones for proof of involvement in the mentioned activities.

As a result of the row Cathay’s CEO Rupert Hogg resigned two weeks ago and now their Chairman is leaving as well.

Cathay Pacific announced it this afternoon:

Cathay Pacific announced today that Mr. John Slosar, Chairman of the company, will be retiring at the conclusion of the next board meeting on 6 November 2019. The Board of Directors has appointed Mr. Patrick Healy to succeed Mr. Slosar as Chairman of Cathay Pacific.

Mr. Healy joined the Swire Group in 1988. He spent fourteen years with the Group’s Beverages Division in Mainland China, followed by four years as CEO, HAECO Xiamen. Mr. Healy is currently Managing Director of Swire Coca-Cola Limited. He is also a Director of John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Limited and a Non-Executive Director of Swire Properties Limited.

Merlin Swire, Chairman of Swire Pacific, said, “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.”

Mr. Slosar said, “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.” He continued, “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.” …

The announcement comes a bit suddenly and at a rather interesting time where one would think that stability by having a veteran chairman would be appreciated. 63 years of age isn’t very old especially for a chairman of the board so retirement is quite unusual.

Cathay Pacific is still majority owned by Swire (44.99%) and Air China (30%).

Conclusion

Hard to say if there was a forced restructuring behind the scenes or if Slosar simply said “I don’t need this trouble at this point in my life” and decided to hand in his resignation.

Having a completely new management team in place would allow Swire to reposition themselves by showing new faces, even though I don’t believe it will solve either their problems with the oppressive mainland Chinese authorities or the performance of the carrier which has been a problem as of late.

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