Hong Kong Protests: Why We Can All Learn From Cathay Pacific’s ex-CEO

Just last week I posted about the resignation of Cathay Pacific’s CEO amidst widespread protests in Hong Kong that shut down one of the largest airports in the world for 2 days.  At the time, we didn’t have the exact reason for his resignation.  I ruminated that it was due to pressure from China.  China had asked the airlines to provide a list of employees involved in the protests.  As well, they wanted information on all Cathay Pacific airline crews flying to and over China.

Not long after receiving this request and indicating that they would comply, Cathay Pacific’s CEO resigns.  Now, we seem to have a better idea of what happened behind the scenes.

Cathay Pacific CEO Protects His Employees

Cathay Pacific’s CEO, Rupert Hogg has done a pretty decent job getting the airline pointed in the right direction.  However, no action made prior to his resignation may have had more impact than the one that ultimately lead to his resignation.  According to One Mile at a Time and media reports, Mr. Hogg did reply with China’s request for a list of employees involved in a protest.  It’s how he apparently responded that gives me tremendous respect for the man.

According to the reports, the list of employees involved in the protests involved exactly one name.  His own.

The Final Two Pennies

As a business owner for two decades, prioritizing the needs of our employees has always been a primary focus for me.  Mr. Hogg’s actions here, if reported correctly, are an excellent way to “walk that talk”.  Even if you don’t agree with the protests (I strongly support their reasons for protesting) you have to admire a man who puts the needs of his employees above his own.  How many other CEOs do you know who would pay the ultimate professional price to protect their team?

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Featured image courtesy of wittayayut/bigstockphoto


  1. If this is true, he’s one classy dude. So much respect. He’ll probably be blackballed in the aviation industry because China is an important market for all of them.

  2. Yesterday 200 firms signed on to a stakeholder over shareholder set of corporate goals. Exactly 0% would have acted in this manner. A true hero.

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