Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
April 9, 2024 ·  3 min read

CEO Dies Suddenly at Work- Leaves Behind Family of Five

The sudden and untimely death of Fremantle Ports’ Chief Executive Officer, Michael Parker, has sent shockwaves through the maritime community. At just 52 years old, Parker’s passing has not only left a professional void but has also deeply impacted his family. Leaving behind his wife Wendy and their four children, Ben, Jackson, Sophie, and Dan.

Michael Parker’s tenure at Fremantle Ports, though relatively brief, was marked by significant contributions and a transformative vision for the organization. His appointment in May 2021 brought with it a wealth of experience. He worked for nearly 26 years at Alcoa, a prominent bauxite and aluminum company. This is where he held various leadership roles in Australia and the United States.

An exceptional leader for both Alcoa and Fremantle Ports of his time

An exceptional leader for both Alcoa and Fremantle Ports
Image Credit: News AU

It was during his illustrious career at Alcoa that Parker ascended to the role of managing director/chairman of Alcoa Alumina and Alcoa of Australia between 2015 and 2019 and showcasing his exceptional leadership abilities and strategic acumen. His transition to Fremantle Ports was met with optimism and enthusiasm, as he brought with him a wealth of industry knowledge and a proven track record of success.

The news of Parker’s sudden demise, confirmed by Fremantle Ports just after 9 a.m. on Wednesday, reverberated across the organization, with colleagues and staff grappling with the loss of a dynamic and engaging leader. In a statement issued by Fremantle Ports, Parker was remembered as a passionate advocate for safety and wellbeing, values that permeated his leadership style and endeared him to those he worked alongside.

Throughout his three-year tenure as CEO, Parker spearheaded an ambitious agenda of change, characterized by a major capital works program aimed at upgrading port assets and implementing effective organizational change initiatives to position Fremantle Ports for a dynamic future. His visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence set a benchmark for the industry. Earning him respect and admiration from peers and subordinates alike.

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A tribute to a legacy

The sudden and untimely death of Fremantle Ports' Chief Executive Officer, Michael Parker, has sent shockwaves through the maritime community.
Image Credit: Facebook

Chris Sutherland, Chair of Fremantle Ports, paid tribute to Parker’s multifaceted legacy. He truly emphasizes his role not only as a visionary leader but also as a devoted family man. Sutherland’s sentiments were echoed by WA Ports Minister David Michael, who expressed shock and sadness at Parker’s passing—highlighting his professionalism, diligence, and dedication to his role as CEO.

Since assuming the position of Minister for Ports last June, David Michael has had the opportunity to collaborate closely with Parker. Recognizing him as a steadfast ally and a driving force behind the port’s success. Parker’s sudden departure leaves a void not only within Fremantle Ports but also within the broader maritime community, where his leadership and influence were widely felt and deeply appreciated.

Amassing mourners from every corner, a reminder of his warm nature

As colleagues, friends, and industry stakeholders mourn the loss of Michael Parker, they are reminded not only of his professional achievements but also of the profound impact he had on those around him. His legacy will endure as a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence, his passion for safety, and his enduring dedication to his family and colleagues.

In this time of grief and reflection, the maritime community stands united in honoring the memory of Michael Parker. A leader whose vision, integrity, and compassion left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him. Though he may be gone, his legacy will continue to inspire and guide us in the years to come.

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  1. “Michael Parker, Fremantle Ports CEO, dies at workMail Online. Ashley Nickel. April 3, 2024.
  2. “Fremantle Ports chief executive dies suddenly at work” News AU
  3. “‘Will be sorely missed’: Fremantle Ports rocked by sudden death of chief executive Michael Parker at work” Sky News