Matthew Harding, chairman of Benfield Group, the British reinsurance broking company, and vice chairman of a top London soccer club, was among five people killed when his chartered helicopter crashed in hilly woodland in northern England, police said Wednesday. He was 42.
In a remarkable career that took him from office boy to chairman of the Benfield Group, Mr. Harding amassed a fortune estimated at around UK150 million ($225 million).David Rowland, Lloyd's chairman, paid tribute to Mr. Harding Wednesday in a statement.
''Matthew Harding epitomized the entrepreneurial vigor typical of Lloyd's and the London insurance market.
''We are shocked by the news of his death and we express our deepest sympathy to his family, his colleagues and the families of others killed in the crash.''
The aircraft was chartered by Mr. Harding, boss of the Chelsea Football Club, who reportedly was returning to London after watching his team lose 2-1 to the Bolton Wanderers in the nearby town of Bolton.
Married with two sons, he made headlines last month when he gave UK1 million to the main opposition Labour Party, the biggest single donation it has ever received.