Compass boss killed in Sydney seaplane incident

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02 Jan 2018 --- Compass Group Chief Executive Richard Cousins has been named as among the dead when a seaplane crashed in a Sydney river on New Year’s Eve. The well-respected 58-year-old boss of the UK catering giant died alongside members of his close family on December 31. Others killed were his two sons, William Cousins, 25, and Edward Cousins, 23, his fiancée Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather Bowden, aged 11. The pilot, Gareth Morgan, 44, was also killed.

Compass Group plc is a British multinational contract foodservice company headquartered in Surrey, England. It is the largest contract foodservice company in the world and has operations in more than 50 countries.

Cousins has led Compass over the last 11 years and was due to step down this March following a long and successful career. It is widely acknowledged that he turned the company around after taking up the reigns in May 2006. 

In 2017, Cousins was named #11 on the 2017 100 Best Performing CEOs in the World by Harvard Business Review. 

A statement from the company says: “It is with deep sadness that we can confirm that our Group Chief Executive, Richard Cousins and four members of his close family have died in a plane accident in Australia on December 31, 2017.”

Paul Walsh, Compass Group Chairman, adds: “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.”

“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.”

Dominic Blakemore, who was originally planned for an April 1 takeover, has now been brought in to succeed Cousins as CEO. 

Australia's transport safety investigation agency said it plans to raise the seaplane later this week as it continues to probe exactly what happened. It is currently submerged in 13 meters of water near Cowan, approximately 25 miles (40km) north of Sydney.

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