Missing executives were diverse group Corporate 'dream team' had skills to rebuild a war-torn country

Plane Crash In Bosnia

April 04, 1996|By Mark Guidera and Michael Dresser | Mark Guidera and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

The executives thought to be on the plane that crashed in Croatia carrying Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown yesterday represented a diverse and experienced array of American corporate talent, and many had dedicated much of their careers to their companies.

Together they represented a corporate "dream team" of the industries essential to rebuilding a war-torn nation -- engineering, telecommunications, construction, energy, environmental cleanup and banking.

While some of the companies said that they had not yet confirmed whether their managers were on the flight, which was part of a three-day trade mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina, others said they had been told their executives were on the flight and killed.

Late yesterday the Commerce Department said at least 12 American executives were unaccounted for after the crash of the military plane, which also carried 10 of Mr. Brown's staff.

The executives included:

* Paul Cushman III, executive vice president at Riggs Bank and chairman and chief executive officer of Riggs International Banking Corp., the global banking division of Riggs, based in Washington, D.C. Riggs Bank confirmed that Mr. Cushman, an alumnus of Boston University and Harvard College, was was killed. Mr. Cushman, 35, was named to head Riggs' global banking department in 1991. Prior to that he had worked with Riggs as the senior vice president in charge of its embassy banking business.

* Claudio Elia, chairman and chief executive officer of Air & Water Technologies Corp., an environmental cleanup company based in Branchburg, N.J.. The company confirmed that Mr. Elia was a member of the delegation but said it did not know whether he was on the plane. According to a recent proxy statement, Air & Water hired Mr. Elia as CEO in June 1994. He had previously been chief executive of Anjou International Co., and also worked as president and CEO of Montenay International Corp., a company that specializes in converting waste to energy.

* Walter J. Murphy, vice president for of global sales for AT&T Submarine Systems Inc, in Morristown, N.J. Mr. Murphy, 52, had been with AT&T since 1970 in a variety of positions.

In a statement, AT&T Chairman Robert E. Allen expressed sadness over the apparent loss.

"Walter Murphy was on that trip today because of his knowledge of what it takes to help rebuild a telecommunications infrastructure like the one so badly damaged by years of war in Bosnia," Mr. Allen said.

Mr. Murphy, who was not on the original list of company delegates, had been asked to join last week, AT&T said.

* Robert A. Whittaker, chairman and chief executive officer of Foster Wheeler Energy International, of Clinton, N.J. Foster Wheeler Corp., an engineering and construction firm, said the State Department had confirmed that Mr. Whittaker, vice president of its Energy Equipment Group, was aboard the flight. Foster Wheeler, with $3 billion in sales last year, was one of the larger companies that had executives aboard.

* Robert E. Donovan, president and chief executive officer of ABB Inc., a Norwalk, Conn., based energy company. Mr. Donovan, an alumnus of the U.S. Military Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was named to the company's top post in 1994. He joined ABB in 1992 after working for Foster Wheeler, ABB said.

* Leonard Pieroni, chairman and chief executive officer of Parsons Corp., the second largest engineering and design firm in the world, based in Pasadena, Calif. Parsons said that Mr. Pieroni was scheduled to be on the plane, but had no confirmation of whether he was alive or killed.

* John A. Scoville, chairman of the board of Harza Engineering Co., a Chicago-based international engineering and environmental consulting firm. Mr. Scoville, an alumnus of Dartmouth College, has been a member of Harza's board since 1971. He had worked on projects throughout the world and had extensive experience in rehabilitating infrastructure systems. Prior to joining Harza, he worked for the Ohio Oil Co, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He lived in Wilmette, Ill.

* I. Donald Terner, the founder and president of Bridge Housing ** Corp, a nonprofit homebuilder of affordable housing based in San Francisco. Mr. Terner, an alumnus of Harvard, joined the company in 1982 after serving four years as the director of housing and community development for the state of California. He also has been a professor at Harvard and M.I.T. and was an associate dean at University of California at Berkeley.

* Stuart Tholan, president of Bechtel Group's construction operations in Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia. The San Francisco-based company said it believed that Mr. Tholan, a 59-year-old Philadelphia native, was on the plane. Bechtel said the London-based executive had been with the company for 33 years.

* Frank Maier, president of Ensearch International Ltd. The Dallas-based natural gas company did not immediately respond to a request for background.

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