PPF Group, the Czech investment company that Kellner co-founded, confirmed his death in a statement on Monday.
“With great sadness, PPF announces that … Petr Kellner tragically passed away in a helicopter accident in the Alaskan mountains,” the company said. “His professional life was known for his incredible work ethic and creativity, but his private life belonged to his family,” it added.
According to a statement from the Alaska State Troopers, four other people — including the helicopter pilot — were killed in the crash near Knik Glacier. One passenger was in a serious but stable condition. According to the statement, the chopper was an Airbus AS350 B3, owned by Soloy Helicopters. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours.
“The group is believed to have been heliskiing in the area,” the Alaska State Troopers’ statement said, adding that the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation into the cause of the crash.
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, which is located in Judd Lake, Alaska, said that some of its guides and guests were on the aircraft.
“This news is devastating to our staff, the community in which we operate and the families of the deceased. In 17 years of operations this is the first time we’ve had to face an event of this measure,” Tordrillo Mountain Lodge said in a statement.
It is unclear who will succeed Kellner at the helm of PPF, which had assets of nearly $44 billion at the end of June 2020. In addition to being its major shareholder, Kellner oversaw the group’s strategic development and future direction.
Shares in Moneta Money Bank fell as much as 4.3% in Prague on Monday before recovering some losses. PPF said earlier this month that it had committed to buying a 28.4% stake in the Czech bank. Shares in O2 Czech Republic, another of PPF’s investments, slipped 0.8%.
Czech President Miloš Zeman held Kellner in “high regard” over his business successes and “deeply regrets his tragic death,” a spokesperson said.
A prominent figure in the Czech business world, Kellner’s philanthropic efforts focused on education and were managed through the Kellner Family Foundation, which he established with his wife, Renáta Kellnerová.
— Ivana Kottasová contributed reporting.