Cathay Pacific Group Chairman John Slosar attends a news conference on the carrier's annual results in Hong Kong, China, March 14, 2018.
Cathay Pacific Group Chairman John Slosar attends a news conference on the carrier's annual results in Hong Kong, China, March 14, 2018.

The chairman of Hong Kong's flagship Cathay Pacific airlines has stepped down, becoming the second executive to resign under pressure from China since pro-democracy demonstrations erupted back in June.

The airline released a statement Wednesday announcing the resignation of 63-year-old John Slosar will take effect on November 6.  The statement said Slosar's resignation is due to his upcoming retirement.  He will be replaced by Patrick Healy, a veteran of the Swire Group, Cathay Pacific's majority shareholder.  

Cathay Pacific has been caught in the middle of Hong Kong's worst political crisis since it was handed over to China by former colonial ruler Britain in 1997.  A bill that would have allowed extradition of defendants to mainland China sparked demonstrations that have escalated into violent clashes between police and protesters.

Cathay CEO Rupert Hogg resigned on August 16 after Beijing demanded the airline suspend any and all staffers who were found to have taken part in the protests, along with the threat of banning Cathay from flying into its airspace.

Slosar said after the demonstrations began that he would not tell his employees what to think, but changed his mind after China's warnings.  

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam formally withdrew the bill in a televised address Wednesday.  Shares of Cathay Airlines rose sharply Wednesday morning after early morning news reports first reported the likelihood of Lam's actions.