Hong Kong Airlines (HX, Hong Kong Int'l) has a new chief executive and head of finance, both joining from HNA Group which has a stake of around 29% stake in the carrier, while the company’s president has left the company, the South China Morning Post has reported.

Sun Jianfeng, previously president of HNA flagship business Hainan Airlines (HU, Haikou), is the new CEO. He was already a director of Hong Kong Airlines Holdings, the carrier’s holding company. A former pilot, he was executive vice-president of Hong Kong Airlines a decade ago, according to a resume seen by the newspaper.

The chief finance officer is Li Neng, the report says, who joins from a position as chief innovation officer at HNA Tourism Investment Group and who has had senior roles at TAP Air Portugal, Virgin Australia and Africa World Airlines.

CEO is a newly created role at Hong Kong Airlines. Wang Liya, who as president was effectively the carrier's chief executive, will step down into an advisory role, the airline has said.

The new arrivals come in the wake of a series of boardroom spats in recent months, together with an ongoing court case to determine who actually controls the company. As previously reported, one group of shareholders claimed in April to have appointed Zhong Guosong, a stakeholder and former director, as chairman. But the company’s website describes the chairman as Hou Wei.

On May 8, the South China Morning Post reported that the airline’s auditor, PwC, had quit, yet the airline maintains it asked the auditor to leave as part of a raft of cost-saving measures.

There are also growing concerns over Hong Kong Airlines' finances. Its shareholders were informed in April that it lost around HKD3 billion (USD382 million) in 2018 and that it would need to raise HKD2 billion to retain its operating license, Reuters reported at the time.

Cash-strapped HNA cut its stake in HK Airlines in 2017, together with other asset sales, and stakeholders at the airline have alleged the group has siphoned money from it, according to Reuters, a charge HNA denies.