Sydney: Prominent Australian businessman James Strong, the chairman of the organising committee for the 2015 cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, has died aged 68. The former Qantas chief executive passed away in Sydney on Sunday after complications following surgery, his family said on Monday.
The ICC World Cup organising committee said it was saddened. "James possessed a passion and vision for the tournament that set the tone for the entire organisation," the committee said in a statement.
ICC World Cup chief executive John Harnden, who worked with Strong for almost 20 years, praised his contribution to corporate and sporting life in Australia and New Zealand. "We will continue the work he began on the World Cup and deliver a tournament in 2015 that would make him proud," he said.
Harnden said a statement regarding Strong's successor would be made in due course. The World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand from February to March in 2015.Strong was the chief executive and managing director of Australian airline Qantas between 1993 and 2001. He was also a chairman of V8 Supercars and Kathmandu Holdings, and a former chairman of the Insurance Australia Group and Woolworths.
Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber said Strong would be missed. "Sorry to hear the news that James Strong has passed away. He was very special towards my junior racing career. Great guy. Will be missed," Webber wrote on Twitter.