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18 Nov 2009
Cathay Pacific Announces Outcome of Restructuring in Airline's Information Management Department

Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that it had completed an important part of the "TRANSform" programme in its Information Management Department (IMT). The programme was launched in June this year with the aim of introducing a new operating model and organisational structure for the department, with most positions being redesigned and carrying new competency and skill requirements as part of the new model.

As part of the restructuring programme, staff members were invited to take part in a matching process which objectively assessed their suitability for positions in the new departmental structure. The outcome of the process means that the majority of existing staff will continue to have a role in the department.

Fifty-three colleagues - or one-sixth of the departmental workforce - were not assigned positions in the future IMT and they will leave the company in the coming months. Most have strengths and backgrounds that don't match the targeted skills and background profile of the new organisation; others did not apply for roles because of individual professional aspirations. Those affected have already been notified about the decision.

They will leave the company in the coming months and will receive a redundancy package that exceeds that stipulated under Hong Kong's employment regulations. The basic package will be equivalent to two-thirds of the employee's final salary multiplied by the number of years of service. The airline will also offer an outplacement service to help affected staff find new roles outside the company.

Cathay Pacific Director Information Management Edward Nicol said: "This has been a necessary but difficult process for our Information Management Department. The demands of the business and the role that IT needs to fulfil are constantly evolving and we need a department which can meet these new challenges.

"We have had to redesign the whole department, creating new jobs with new skills sets while others are no longer required. We have conducted an open and transparent review of the capabilities of all our staff and while there have been many good matches, regrettably some of the newly designed roles in the new organisation do not fully align with the background, strengths, and aspirations of all our current staff.

"We are offering these colleagues a redundancy package and will do everything we can to assist them in their career transitions elsewhere which better match their skills and aspirations."

Mr Nicol added that IMT will be recruiting to fill new positions created in the new department structure while some existing staff will be promoted. "The objective of this exercise was never to reduce staff numbers," he said. "At the end of the reorganisation, the number of staff in the department will remain roughly the same.

The TRANSform programme was launched following a six-month review of the airline's information technology needs and capabilities. With a new set of strategic initiatives identified for Cathay Pacific, many of which require a major IT contribution, the gap between demand from business units and what the IMT could deliver became too large for the department to overcome in its current form. The change programme will focus development resources on innovation, position the department as a strategic partner to the business, and facilitate vital business change at a time when the airline industry is going through a period of rapid transformation.

Since the programme was announced in June, Cathay Pacific has endeavoured to communicate openly with IMT staff on the changes. Monthly "town hall" meetings have been held, at which the department's General Manager gave an update on the progress of TRANSform. Q&A sessions were held once a week as a platform for staff to raise questions and share opinions on the restructuring. The department also organised a total of 13 career Q&A sessions to answer staff questions on job selection.