Richard Cousins Of Compass Group Dies In Plane Crash

Richard Cousins
– Richard Cousins

Richard Cousins, the former chief executive of hospitality giant Compass Group, and four family members as well as the pilot, died in a plane crash in Australia, Dec. 31.

The plane reportedly carried Cousins, his two sons, his fiancée and her daughter, who spent their vacation in Australia. Nobody, including the pilot, survived. The accident occurred on Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney.

Cousins served as Compass Group’s chief executive since 2006. He was to retire March 31. His successor, Dominic Blakemore’s appointment was advanced from April 1 to Jan. 1.

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

Compass Group is one of the world’s leading catering companies, supplying food, support, cleaning and property management services. In 2011, Compass purchased a 49 per cent stake in AEG Facilities. The group’s clients include The O2 and The SSE Arena, Wembley in London as well as L.A.’s Staples Center.

Richard Cousins was born in Leeds in 1959, and later studied math at Sheffield University before earning a masters degree in operational research from Lancaster University.

Before joining Compass, Cousins held various positions at building materials company BPB plc, becoming its CEO in 2000. Under his leadership BPB became the world’s market leadership in plasterboard, with operations in more than 40 countries and revenues of £2.5bn ($3.4bn).

Cousins was appointed chief executive of Compass Group in May 2006. He transformed what was poorly performing business into the world’s leading contract catering company by its own accounts. Today, Compass operates in more than 50 countries, employing over 550,000 people with annual revenues of £22.6bn ($30.6bn). He also served as a non-executive director of P&O plc, HBOS plc, Reckitt Benckiser Group plc and Tesco PLC.

Cousins was a keen cricketer, both as a follower of Yorkshire and England and as an opening batsman for the village team.