Marseille (AFP) – French-Lebanese businessman Jacques Saade, who founded CMA CGM, which went on to become the world’s third largest container shipping firm, has died, his company said. He was 81.
“Jacques R. Saade dedicated his life to CMA CGM. A true visionary and unique entrepreneur, he made his business a world leader in the maritime container transport,” a company statement said in announcing his death on Sunday.
“We have lost a visionary entrepreneur,” said French President Emmanuel Macron in a statement, adding that Saade “always knew how to overcome crises in the maritime market and how to run his group with lucidity within a global and complex economy.”
And Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who is in Beijing, paid tribute to him on Twitter, describing him as a “French jewel.”
Born in Beirut and educated at the London School of Economics, Saade had in 1978 laid the cornerstone of a business which would go on to become a world leader in maritime transport, profiting from the explosion of global trade, most of which is shipped by sea.