University deeply saddened by the loss of alumnus Richard Cousins

It is with tremendous sadness that the University learnt of the tragic death of alumnus Richard Cousins with his family in a seaplane crash in Sydney on New Year’s Eve. Richard was Chief Executive of Compass Group, the world’s largest catering company and a dedicated friend and supporter of The University of Sheffield.

Richard was proud to have graduated from Sheffield in 1980 with a BSc in Pure Maths, Probability and Statistics and he kept in regular touch with the University in the decades which followed. His wife Caroline, who died in 2015 following a short battle against stomach cancer, was also a Sheffield alumna with a BA in English Literature in 1981.

President and Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett said “I am deeply sorry to learn of the tragic death of Richard with his sons Edward and William, his fiancée Emma and her daughter Heather as well as the pilot of the seaplane.

"I met Richard on many occasions and it was obvious how proud he was to be a graduate of this University. As one of the world's most respected CEOs, he achieved a great deal in business and I personally feel a deep gratitude for the advice he gave me about leading a team of talented people and the vital importance of nurturing new ideas, but he was also a very warm and grounded person who won the respect and friendship of those who knew him."

Following his graduation, Richard Cousins began his career at Cadbury Schweppes as a Market Researcher. In 1984 he joined BTR Industries in operational research and later became Corporate Planning Manager for Newey and Eyre.

In 1990, Richard moved to BPB plc, the world's largest manufacturer of plasterboard. He became a Group Financial Controller and President of the Canadian section of the business in 1998 before becoming Chief Executive in 2000.

Richard joined the FTSE 100 Compass Group in 2006, where he served as Chief Executive. He was also credited with transforming the performance of Tesco as an independent director.

The Harvard Business Review named Richard Cousins as the 11th most successful CEO in the world. He was due to retire in March 2018.


Click here for more latest news.