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Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific rose on Thursday after the company said chief executive Ivan Chu would step down from the position on May 1.

Under Mr Chu’s leadership, the airline reported its first annual loss in eight years for 2016 with a net loss of HK$575m ($74m), against a HK$6bn profit in 2015. The airline said it was faced with increasing competition from state-owned Chinese rivals and a fall in business travel.

Mr Chu, who has held the role of chief executive since 2014, is to be replaced by the carrier’s chief operating officer Rupert Hogg.

Shares in Cathay Pacific rose as much as 0.9 per cent in early trading in Hong Kong before paring gains to be up 0.6 per cent at HK$10.98 a share. The stock has closed down for six consecutive sessions. The benchmark Hang Seng index is 0.3 per cent lower.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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