The New Zealand chief executive of a top construction company died suddenly and unexpectedly within hours of contracting an aggressive meningococcal infection at the weekend.

Fulton Hogan chief executive Bill Perry - a father of three - was rushed to Christchurch Hospital with the aggressive infection on Saturday morning and died hours later.

Nick Miller, managing director for the Fulton Hogan Group, today said the sympathies of company staff were with Mr Perry's wife Nicole and his three children Sam, Eliza and Angus today.

He said Perry had steered the company through tough economic conditions and had shown outstanding leadership in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake.


"Bill was a charismatic leader who led from the front. He was a big man, with a big heart, totally committed to his family and who was always at his best in a crisis.

"His values and principles were unwaivering. Australian by birth and education, he quickly became a kiwi by adoption. His wisdom, knowledge, personality and sense of humour overlayed a steely resolve to do nothing but his best for his people, the company and the wider community.

Fulton Hogan employs 5500 people and is a higly respected company.

Perry was named chief executive of its New Zealand operations in 2008, after a year managing corporate services in Australia.

He was a member of the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Alliance, a member of the Fulton Hogan Group Executive and a member of Business Leaders Safety Council.

Miller tributed him as a great friend to many in the business community.

"For all of us at Fulton Hogan, Bill was not only a very respected and trusted work colleague but also a very good friend who will be sorely missed by a large number of people both in the company and wider business and contracting fraternity. He made friends easily."

A funeral service for Perry was set be held in Christchurch on Friday.

- Hayden Donnell