Jon M. Gregg, a partner in the Chicago office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP, was killed when the twin-engine private aircraft he was piloting crashed into Lake Ontario near Toronto on July 7, 2003. Mr. Gregg, who owned the six-seat Beechcraft Baron and was its sole occupant at the time, was on final instrument approach to the Toronto Island Airport in foggy conditions. Canadian authorities located the submerged airplane late last week in over 200 feet of water in connection with an extensive search and rescue operation. Mr. Gregg’s body is believed to be inside the cabin. Recovery efforts will continue over the next few days.
Mr. Gregg was 59 years old. He is survived by his wife Carol, one son, three daughters, one son-in-law and one sister-in-law.
Mr. Gregg spent his entire 35-year legal career with Sidley, joining the firm in 1968 immediately after law school and becoming a partner in 1974. He focused primarily on corporate and securities law matters, with an emphasis on handling international securities offerings and mergers and acquisitions transactions for many large Canadian companies. Among the clients with which Mr. Gregg worked were major Canadian transportation, energy and travel-related firms.
Several recent high profile transactions in which Mr. Gregg served as U.S. counsel to Canadian companies are illustrative of his numerous accomplishments. In 2001, Mr. Gregg represented Canadian Pacific Limited in its historic spin-off which resulted in the creation of five separate publicly traded companies: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, CP Ships Limited, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., Fording Inc. and PanCanadian Energy Corporation. Then, in 2002, Mr. Gregg advised PanCanadian Energy Corporation in its merger with Alberta Energy Company Ltd. to form EnCana Corporation, one of Canada’s largest independent producers of oil and natural gas, in a transaction which was ranked as the Number 1 deal of the year by The Financial Post of Canada. Earlier this year, Mr. Gregg represented Fording Inc. in connection with the creation of the Fording Canadian Coal Trust, a new $1.6 billion company which is currently the world’s second-largest metallurgical coal company.
“We mourn the loss of our partner, Jon Gregg,” said Thomas A. Cole, Chairman of Sidley’s Executive Committee. “As a long-standing member of our community of professionals, Jon made great contributions to our firm and our clients. On a personal note, I recall fondly receiving from Jon one of my first assignments when I arrived at the firm nearly thirty years ago, and I enjoyed working closely with him on any number of challenging transactions over the years. He will be missed.”
Mr. Gregg had a life-long love of flying and was an extremely accomplished pilot, having earned his first pilot’s license while still a teenager. Mr. Gregg and his family traveled extensively, often aboard the aircraft he owned. He also at one time owned and flew an aerobatic stunt bi-plane and was a frequent participant in Midwest air shows.
Mr. Gregg graduated from the University of Illinois in 1965 with honors and from Harvard Law School in 1968. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves for several years immediately after law school.
Plans for a memorial service for Mr. Gregg are pending.