Cathay's shares fall almost 4% after the president resigns



HONG KONG (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd shares fell almost 4% in early trading on Thursday following the resignation of its president after the market closed the previous day.

John Slosar's departure was announced less than three weeks after the growing Chinese regulatory scrutiny led to the departure of his chief executive, Rupert Hogg.

Cathay's shares closed 7.2% higher on Wednesday because the Hong Kong market rose due to reports on the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, which was officially announced after the market closed.

The executive president of Swire Pacific Ltd, Patrick Healy, was appointed new president of Cathay on Wednesday after the resignation of Slosar, who had held the position since 2014.

As John would have retired soon anyway, it is not really a major setback as a business, said an analyst about Slosar's departure. However, it is always horrible to see when politics dictates this.

The analyst, who was not authorized to speak publicly about personnel changes, said he believed that if the political situation in Hong Kong stabilized, the situation in Cathay should also do so.

Daiwa Capital Markets analyst Kelvin Lau said the withdrawal of the extradition bill was positive for Cathay, although protests were not expected to end immediately.

We hope this is a turning point where the situation does not at least get worse, he said in a note to customers, adding that recent changes in airline personnel should meet the requirements of the Chinese regulator and are likely to infuse trust between customers.

China's aviation regulator last month said the crew that participated in the anti-government protests in Hong Kong posed a security threat and should be suspended from personnel flights to the mainland and over its airspace.

(Report by Donny Kwok and Jamie Freed, written by Jamie Freed, edited by Richard Pullin)

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