Cathay Pacific chief operating officer Rupert Hogg will take over as chief executive from 1 May, replacing Ivan Chu.
The Hong Kong carrier's parent Swire Pacific says Hogg has been tasked with leading Cathay through its three-year transformation programme, intended to make it "more agile and competitive".
Hogg will also become chairman of regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon.
Chu, meanwhile, has been appointed chairman of John Swire & Sons (China), also effective 1 May. He will remain on the boards of Cathay Pacific and Swire Pacific as non-executive director.
The group also made three other senior management changes. The airline's director of corporate development and IT, Paul Loo, will serve as chief customer and commercial officer from 1 June.
Greg Hughes, group director of components and engine services at Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO), will take over as Cathay's chief operations and service delivery officer, likewise from 1 June.
Loo and Hughes will both report directly to Hogg.
Cathay Dragon chief executive Algernon Yau, meanwhile, will take on an additional role as Cathay's director of service delivery, again effective 1 June. He will report to Hughes.
John Slosar, chairman of Swire Pacific and Cathay, has paid tribute to Chu's leadership during six years with the airline. Chu served first as chief operating officer before becoming chief executive in 2014.
"Ivan played a key role in the airline's management during some very good times and, more recently, some difficult and challenging times. In response, he led the team in devising the three-year transformation strategy which will provide the platform for Cathay's medium-term recovery and continued development," states Slosar.
He adds that Hogg brings "commercial focus and a spirit of innovation" to efforts at overcoming the airline's structural challenges and "is the right man to lead our team".
Under Chu, the Cathay Pacific Group slumped to an operating loss of HK$525 million ($70.2 million) in 2016, after a HK$6.7 billion profit the year before. It also posted a net loss of HK$575 million last year, its first since 2008.