The CEO of one of Britain’s biggest companies and four of his family members were killed in a seaplane crash in Australia on New Year’s Eve.
International catering firm Compass Group (), a Global Fortune 500 company, said Monday that CEO Richard Cousins, died when the aircraft crashed in New South Wales.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news,” Compass chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement.
Four members of Cousins’ family and the pilot of the plane also died in the disaster. There were no survivors.
“The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them,” Walsh said.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has launched an investigation into the cause of the crash.
Compass, which reported annual revenue of £23 billion ($31 billion) for its most recent financial year, specializes in providing catering for schools, prisons and multinational companies.
It operates in roughly 50 countries, employing more than half a million people.
Cousins, 58, had run the company for more than 11 years. He was due to step down as CEO in March and retire from Compass entirely in September.
The company’s chief operating officer for Europe, Dominic Blakemore, had been named as his successor.
Compass said Monday that Blakemore will take over with immediate effect.
According to a recent profile by the Financial Times, Cousins had a reputation as a “big-hitter and company turnaround expert” among financial analysts in London.
He was recently named the world’s 11th best performing CEO in 2017 by the Harvard Business Review.
Cousins previously served as CEO of construction materials firm BPB and as a non-executive director at several big British companies, including supermarket giant Tesco ().