members of his family with the pilot when an aircraft crashed in New South Wales and no one survived the crashed.
"We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news," Compass chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement.
"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.
Records shows that the Compass operates in almost 50 countries as well employing more than half a million people from different ethnicity.
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.
Compass said on Monday that Dominic 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.
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 (TSCDF).