Singapore Airlines victim named as retired insurance manager Geoff Kitchen

Geoff Kitchen

The man who sadly passed away after a Singapore Airlines flight hit by turbulence yesterday has been named as Geoff Kitchen, a former branch manager at Axa and business development manager at Acturis.

Kitchen, 73, died of a suspected heart attack, while his wife Linda sustained serious injuries when Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 encountered severe turbulence travelling from London

The plane carrying a reported 211 passengers and 18 crew suddenly dropped thousands of feet in altitude. 

It is believed Kitchen, pictured, and his wife were starting a six-week holiday in Asia. 

Kitchen worked at Acturis as a business development manager from 2003 until retiring in 2010. He started at the software house only a few years after it had been founded in 2000. 

Prior to this, Kitchen also worked for Axa as a branch manager for Axa.. 

He was a lovely guy who always went about his work with a warm and knowing smile – he knew something about insurance and believed in what we were trying to do and embraced our young start-up culture. We have had numerous messages this evening from former colleagues who read the news and expressed both their shock and their love for Geoff.
Theo Duchen, co-CEO of Acturis

Theo Duchen, co-CEO of Acturis, said: “It is a very sad day.”

In a statement Duchen sent to staff, he said: “It is with great sadness that we learned that Geoff Kitchen, a former Acturis colleague, was the person who died on the Singapore Airlines flight hit by severe turbulence earlier today. Geoff’s wife, Linda, is one of the passengers in hospital with serious injuries.

“Geoff joined us from an insurer in the very early days of Acturis, and as was the case back then, worked on a number of different projects, including the design of our first commercial etrade products. He then worked on the broker sales and implementation team supporting our first broker clients. 

“He was a lovely guy who always went about his work with a warm and knowing smile – he knew something about insurance and believed in what we were trying to do and embraced our young start-up culture. We have had numerous messages this evening from former colleagues who read the news and expressed both their shock and their love for Geoff.

“Geoff and his wife Linda were very keen amateur thespians and together were very active in their local theatres in Gloucestershire – we loved to tease him at Christmas about his varied roles in amateur Pantomimes.  Apparently he and Linda were starting off on a six-week holiday in Asia when this tragic accident occurred.

“A very sad day. Our thoughts and prayers are for Linda and their family.”

Lloyd Hanks, who hired Kitchen as a branch manager for Bristol during his time at Axa, said: “He was a highly professional BM, very well thought of by his team, and the brokers he looked after. It is a tragic loss and of course his wife Linda was injured too. 

“My deepest sympathy goes to Linda and his family.”

Sorry

As well as being a well-respected member of the insurance community, Kitchen was a regular performer and advocate for the Thornbury Musical Theatre Group, where he was active for 35 years.

In a statement, the group expressed its devastation at the loss of its “esteemed colleague and friend”.

It said: “It is with a heavy heart that we learn of the devastating news of the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend Geoff Kitchen in the recent Singapore Air Incident. 

“Geoff was always a gentleman with the utmost honesty and integrity and always did what was right for the group. 

“His commitment to TMTG was unquestionable and he has served the group and the local community of Thornbury for over 35 years, holding various offices within the group, including Chairman, Treasurer and most recently Secretary.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and the family at this difficult time, and we ask that you respect their privacy.”

In the aftermath of the incident, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong has apologising to the victims.

Goh offered his “deepest apologies to everyone affected” by the “sudden extreme turbulence” in a video statement posted on social media.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident,” Goh said.

He also offered his “deepest condolences to the family and loved ones” of Kitchen.

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