Jacques R. Saade, Founding President of the CMA CGM Group, died on 24th of June 2018 at the age of 81. An extraordinary visionary and entrepreneur, he made the Group into a world leader in the maritime transport of containers, developing the company in more than 160 countries, while maintaining the family dimension with its values.
After having left Lebanon to protect his family for Civil War, Jacques R Saadé founded the Compagnie Maritime d’Affretement (CMA) 40 years ago, on 13 September 1978, anticipating major developments in world trade and convinced that the container would have a determining role in world maritime transport.
He began with 4 employees, a single ship and only one maritime service between Marseilles and Beirut. Then began the company’s extraordinary development. In 1983, he sent his first ships beyond the Mediterranean and had them cross the Suez Canal. In 1986 he launched a service linking North Europe to Asia. In 1992 he opened CMA’s first office in Shanghai, persuaded that China would become the world’s factory.
He combined vigorous internal growth with strategic acquisitions allowing him to strengthen the company’s presence on key markets: CGM in 1986, ANL in 1998 and Delmas in 2005. In 2006, the company became the third largest container shipping company in the world.
With strong ties to the city of Marseilles, where the Group was founded, Jacques R. Saadé built the CMA CGM Tower in 2006, the new headquarters of the Group and now a symbol of the city of Marseilles.
On 7 February 2017, on his 80th birthday, Jacques R. Saadé, appointed Rodolphe Saadé to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group and then appointed him Chairman of the Board of Directors on the 24th of November, the same year.
The CMA CGM Group is a world leader of maritime transport. Its 494 ships serve more than 420 ports worldwide on the 5 continents. In 2017, they transported nearly 19 million TEU. The Group employs more than 30,000 collaborators in the world and 2,400 in Marseilles where is located its headquarters, and is present in 160 countries via its network of 755 agencies.