The chief executive officer of Compass Group PLC, the world’s biggest catering firm, and four of his close family members were among the six people who died when the seaplane they were traveling in crashed into a Sydney river on Sunday.
Richard Cousins, 58, chief of the British-based catering and food services giant, died alongside Emma Bowden, 48, Heather Bowden, 11, Edward Cousins, 23, and William Cousins, 25, Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings from the New South Wales Police said.
Richard Cousins was due to retire on March 31.
Compass said the new chief executive, Dominic Blakemore, would start yesterday instead of on April 1 as originally planned, following the news.
Australian media reports identified the victims as the chief executive’s two sons, his fiancee and her daughter.
The pilot of the plane, Gareth Morgan, 44, also died in the crash.
Hutchings said that police had already been in contact with British authorities.
“The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them,” Compass chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement.
“Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain’s leading companies,” he added yesterday.
Richard Cousins led Compass over the past 11 years after his decision to quit as senior independent director of supermarket giant Tesco PLC.
He has been widely credited with turning the company’s business around and making Compass into one of the FTSE 100’s best-performing firms.
Richard Cousins had also been named as one of the world’s best-performing chief executive officers by Harvard Business Review.
Police are working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to recover the wreckage of the plane, which is submerged in 13m of water near Cowan, north of Sydney.
A probe into the cause of the crash has begun, with a preliminary report expected within 30 days.
Authorities have said it might take up to a year to find out what happened.
The seaplane was part of the Sydney Seaplanes business that has operated since 2005 with no previous record of mishap.
Seaplane flights have been canceled until further notice.
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