- Compass Chairman Paul Walsh expressed his sympathies on Tuesday after CEO Richard Cousins died in a seaplane crash on New Year’s Eve.
- Cousins was due to retire from the catering firm in March.
- An investigation has been begun into the crash, which was described by Australian police as a “tragic accident.”
LONDON – The chairman of FTSE 100 catering company Compass said he is “deeply shocked and saddened” by the death of CEO Richard Cousins in a seaplane crash in Australia on New Year’s Eve.
Cousins, 58, died alongside his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, his two sons William, 25, and Edward, 23, and her daughter Heather, 11, while on holiday in Australia. Their flight crashed near Sydney Harbour, in what Australian police described as a “tragic accident.”
The plane came down off Jerusalem Bay near Cowan, 25 miles north of Sydney centre, at about 3.10 p.m. local time (4.10 a.m. GMT) on Sunday. A sixth person, Australian pilot Gareth Morgan, also died in the crash.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news. The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them,” chairman Peter Walsh said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for the last few years. Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain’s leading companies.”
French company Sodexo, which competes with Compass in the food services market, offered condolences from its board of directors in a separate statement on Tuesday.
“Mr. Cousins was a recognised leader by the entire industry,” Sodexo said in a statement. “Under these tragic circumstances, we offer our sincerest sympathies.”
Cousins became CEO of Compass in 2006 and helped turn around the fortunes of the then-struggling business. He was recently named as one of the world’s best-performing CEOs by the Harvard Business Review and was due to stand down as chief executive in March.
Compass confirmed in a separate statement on Tuesday that Dominic Blakemore, who was due to take over from Cousins in March, will take over as CEO immediately.
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