MUNICH -- Mazda said on Wednesday that Neil Warrior, the company's head of European product communications, was traveling on an Air France flight that crashed near Brazil.
Warrior was among 228 people traveling on the flight when it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean. Other passengers included Eric Heine, a ThyssenKrupp executive board member, and three Michelin executives.
Warrior's death has not been officially confirmed, but parts of plane were recovered in the Atlantic Ocean and it is unlikely that there were any survivors, Mazda said.
Warrior, 48, was returning to Europe from a vacation in South America.
"Our entire company is shocked and saddened by this terrible news," said Jeff Guyton, Mazda Motor Europe CEO. "It simply isn't enough to say Neil will be sorely missed. This loss goes deeper than that, because someone like Neil cannot be replaced.”
Guyton added: “He was a warm, kind and fun person who will never be forgotten by those who knew him. It was a privilege to have had Neil as our colleague and friend."
Warrior joined Mazda Europe as public relations director responsible for product communications in 2007. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he had earlier worked for Fiat and Alfa Romeo in the UK.
A memorial service will be held for Warrior in Cologne on Monday June 8, Mazda said.
Two ThyssenKrupp employees and three Michelin executives are also among missing passengers and crew who traveled on the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
Heine, a member of the German steelmaker's' executive board responsible for major projects in Brazil and the U.S., and Claus-Peter Hellhammer, an employee of ThyssenKrupp Steel in Duisburg, were on the flight, ThyssenKrupp said.
“We mourn the loss of our employees and extend our deepest sympathies to their families,” the company said in a statement.
Heine, 41, was a rising star at the steel group which is a major automotive industry supplier. He was responsible for building steel plants in Rio de Janeiro and in Alabama.
Michelin's three executives on the flight included two senior Brazilian managers and Christine Pieraerts, a 28-year-old French engineer, Associated Press reported.
Michelin's president for South America, Luiz Roberto Anastacio, 50, had been promoted May 4 and was traveling to France to meet fellow top executives. He had worked for Michelin for 27 years.
Brazilian information systems director, Antonio Gueiros, with Michelin for over 20 years, was traveling to Paris for a computer seminar.