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CMA CGM founder passes away
Jacques R. Saade

CMA CGM founder passes away

Jacques R. Saadé, the founding president of the CMA CGM Group, has passed away at the age of 81.

As per his wishes, Saadé’s funeral will be held in Marseilles at the La Major Cathedral on June 29th at 11am.

After leaving Lebanon to protect his family from civil war in 1978, Saadé founded Compagnie Maritime d’Affretement (CMA) with four employees, a single ship and one maritime service between Marseilles and Beirut.

In 1983 his first ships beyond the Mediterranean were deployed, travelling across the Suez Canal, and in 1986 he launched a service linking Europe and Asia.

Saadé grew the business by acquiring CGM in 1996, ANL in 1998 and Delmas in 2005. In 2006, CMA CGM became the third largest container shipping company in the world.

In 2013 he received one of the highest decorations of the City of Hamburg, the Admiralitäts-Portugaleser. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from the American University in Lebanon, as well as Lebanon’s National Order of the Cedar.

In 2014 Saadé received an award from the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) for encouraging the economic development and conveying a positive image of the Mediterranean Basin, as well as promoting peace and tolerance worldwide.

In 2015, he was given the title of Commander of the French Legion of Honor by the President of France. The following year he was named Commander of the Ordre National du Mérite Maritime.

In 2017, on his 80th birthday, Saadé, appointed Rodolphe Saadé to the position of CEO of the CMA CGM Group and then appointed him chairman of the board of directors later in the year.