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Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific launches leadership shake-up ahead of staff cuts and major restructure

Middle management at the embattled carrier will be interviewed for redeployment, while other positions will be cut completely

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 May, 2017, 9:54pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 May, 2017, 11:29pm

Cathay Pacific Airways has downsized and restructured its top management while middle managers are set to be interviewed for redeployment, according to new details of the airline’s streamlining plan.

It marks the embattled flagship carrier’s first steps towards slashing 30 per cent of staff costs at its Hong Kong base after it posted a HK$575 million loss in March.

An internal message and video posted Friday, introducing Cathay’s new structure, said senior management staff numbers had been reduced from 13 to 11.

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Rupert Hogg, who replaced Ivan Chu Kwok-leung as chief executive officer on Monday, is now the firm’s only leadership point. His previous role as chief operating officer was scrapped.

Under Hogg, three director roles were merged under two new high-ranking positions – a chief customer and commercial officer and chief operations and service delivery officer.

“We will only succeed if we are a more agile, accountable and customer centric organisation and the new structure is designed to enable just that,” Cathay’s director of people, Tom Owen said in the video.

Meanwhile, a source told the Post that Cathay would soon conduct interviews with management staff for redeployment while some roles would be made redundant. A spokesman for the airline said the exact number of senior and middle management redundancies was not yet available.

Cathay currently has 19,000 staff in Hong Kong, with about 5,300 of those in a variety of head office functions.

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Dora Lai Yuk-sim, chairwoman for Cathay Pacific Airways’ Flight Attendants Union, welcomed the shake-up.

“If this speeds up decision-making and makes the company more passenger centric as they said it would, of course we would welcome it,” she said. “We would always have to wait for answers on any suggestions or proposals and we would get no confirmation because of all the bureaucracy.”