Cos Bruyn
Former CEO

Cos Bruyn

Downer NZ

Cos Bruyn talks about his experience of leading his organisation after a workplace fatality, and what it taught him about leadership.

Moral duties before legal duties

Cos says he believes there are three things a CEO needs to focus on in a crisis like this:

  1. Being present and showing sustained support for the victim’s family and workmates
  2. Ensuring the lessons from the tragedy are identified, quickly shared and acted on
  3. Putting moral obligations to protect your people ahead of your duty to protect your company’s legal position.

He says when something like a fatality occurs, the CEO needs to lead the investigation into what happened, and to take personal responsibility for ensuring the lessons learnt are acted on.


Watch: Leading Through Tragedy (2015)

Leading Through Tragedy (2015) PDF • 378 KB

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“My first duty of care is always to my employees. My duty to protect the company’s reputation comes second to that.”