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Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific chief executive Ivan Chu will step down from the position on May 1, the airline said on Wednesday.

Cathay’s chief operating officer Rupert Hogg will take the CEO position.

Mr Chu joined John Swire & Sons in 1984 and has been Cathay’s CEO since March 2014.

Under his leadership, Cathay reported a loss of HK$575m ($74m) for 2016, its first annual loss since 2008, as rival Chinese airlines added more direct flights to international destinations and the demand for its premium class tickets fell.

This net loss compares to a HK$6bn profit in 2015 and came amid what the company described as a “difficult” operating environment with “intense and increasing” competition from other airlines.

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