HK Express Appointed New CEO From Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific has appointed a new CEO for the airline’s low-cost carrier HK Express.

HK Express new CEO
Mandy Ng has been with Cathay Pacific for 17 years. Photo: Wikimedia

Following the resignation of Cathay chief Rupert Hogg and former customer and commercial chief Paul Loo, Cathay Pacific’s latest management shakeup sees Mandy Ng take over operations at HK Express.

Mandy Ng has been with Cathay Pacific for the past 17 years working her way up from a management trainee in 1999 to being the general manager of business development at Swire Pacific.

Swire Pacific is a Hong Kong-based conglomerate that has been in business for over 200 years, primarily focused on property holdings, aviation, and marine services.

Mandy Ng takes over the role of HK Express chief executive with immediate effect following the departure of Ronald Lam. Lam has returned to the parent airline to become chief customer and commercial officer.

In her new role, Mandy Ng will become the first woman to lead a local airline, and means that all three Cathay Pacific owned airlines are now being run by people born in mainland China.

Mandy Ng has been steadily climbing the corporate ladder

It was almost as though Mandy Ng was being prepped for the role, having already worked as a part of Cathay Pacific’s acquisition and transition team in charge of integrating HK Express into Cathay Pacific.

checking in for HK Express
Mandy Ng becomes the latest female airline CEO. Photo: Wikimedia

From 2014 to 2016, Mandy Ng worked as the manager for airline planning across the group, where she was responsible for the scheduling and deployment of 200 aircraft.

According to the South China Morning Post, on leaving his job at HK Express to return to the parent airline as its second in command, Ronald Lam backed the appointment of Mandy Ng saying in a statement:

“Ensuring continuity in HK Express’ business direction is of paramount importance.

“Mandy has played a key role in ensuring the smooth transition for the airline and the Cathay Pacific Group. Mandy and I will work closely together to lead HK Express into an exciting future for our people and our customers.”

Mandy Ng now joins an elite group of female airline CEOs who, surprisingly, only make up 3% of all airline bosses, according to the International Air Transport Association. In other industries, female CEOs account for 12% of all top jobs.

Challenging times for Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong

The big management changes at Cathay Pacific follow the resignation of Rupert Hogg and former customer and commercial chief Paul Loo.

HK Express airbus A320
Rupert Hogg and Paul Loo resignations cause management shake-up. Photo: byeangel via Flickr

The pair resigned after the airline got caught up in the politics surrounding the Hong Kong demonstrations and Cathay Pacific staff. Talking to the BBC about his resignation, Hogg said,

“These have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.”

Tang lays down the law in a letter to employees

Hogg’s replacement is Augustus Tang, who has been with the Swire Group since 1982. He is seen as trying to appease the mainland authorities after many of the airline’s staff showed support for the protests.

Cathay Pacific feels the pressure from Beijing. Photo: Wikimedia

In his first letter to employees carried in today’s South China Morning Post, Tang talked about their responsibilities as Cathay Pacific employees saying:

“We must and will ensure 100 percent compliance with [CAAC demands] and all directives. Quite simply, this is our license to operate. The way every single one of us acts, not only at work serving our customers, but also outside work – on social media and in everyday life – impacts how we are perceived as a company,” he said.

“We have made very clear that we have zero tolerance for illegal activities or breaches of our own policies.”