Business leader Lloyd Morrison found out about having leukaemia only a few days ago but there is hope it has been caught early and he will be able to make a full recovery.
Infratil chairman David Newman made the announcement to the stock exchange yesterday that Morrison, 51, had been diagnosed with leukaemia.
Morrison has stepped down as Infratil chief executive to take medical leave and will also take a leave of absence for his directorships on Infratil, Trustpower and Auckland International Airport.
Chief operating officer Marko Bogoievski, who has been with Infratil for around one year, will step up to the top job.
Infratil executive Tim Brown said the news had come as a shock to the system.
"He only really found out a few days ago."
Brown said while it was bad news, Morrison was extremely fit and emotionally and mentally strong.
He said he understood from talking to Morrison the type of cancer was one where "as long as you get to it early" there is "quite a good chance of a happy outcome".
But he said the treatment was often what made a person feel unwell and the reason the medical leave was required.
Brown said it was difficult to put a timeframe on how long Morrison would need to have off at this stage.
But he said while it was sad news for Morrison and the management team, Infratil shareholders should not be concerned.
"With this sort of environment and the team of people we have, it's not the same for a CEO where the whole company relies on that person to keep the business going."
He said the management team were very experienced and worked in an open-plan situation where everybody knew how the company operated.
The present environment also meant the business was more about hunkering down than doing new deals.
While Bogoievski had been with the company for a short time he was very experienced and the rest of senior management had been there for a decade.
Regarding Morrison's other board positions, Brown said it had yet to be decided whether someone would be put forward to fill in for him.
Brown said management would discuss the matter today.
Infratil owns Auckland's Stagecoach buses, a major stake in Trustpower and has a small stake in Auckland International Airport, and investments in European airports.
Morrison founded investment bank Morrison & Co in 1988 after the 1987 sharemarket crash, which led to the formation of listed investment company Infratil in 1994.
Infratil shares closed down 2c at $1.63.