Kiwi credit crunch suicide

New Zealand-born financier Kirk Stephenson, 47, died last Thursday morning after throwing himself under a commuter train in Buckinghamshire, apparently because losses from the credit crunch.

His death has shocked the City, which is reeling from job and financial losses from the global banking crisis. He was chief operating officer at two-year-old private equity fund Olivant Advisers.

Mr Stephenson arrived in London in 1983 in his early 20s as an SG Warburg trainee.

He went on to work as chief financial officer and chief operating officer at several major organisations, including Guinness Peat Group-owned Coats, Amersham and international law firm Freshfields.

London news reports said Mr Stephenson, father of an eight-year-old son, left for work as normal and leapt in front of an 100mph train at Taplow station during rush hour.

His boss, Olivant chief executive Luqman Arnold, said he was "devastated" by the apparent credit crunch-linked suicide of one of his senior colleagues.

"Everyone at Olivant has been devastated by the news of Kirk's death," he said.

Mr Stephenson's wife, Karina Robinson, said he was "a dedicated father and a devoted husband," adding: "He valued his family above all else."

Mr Stephenson, whose salary was NZ$1 million a year, reportedly owned a £3.6 million house in Chelsea and another property in the West Country.

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