On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Jacques Saadé the founder of CMA CGM, appointed his son to run what is the world’s third largest ocean carrier.
Rodolphe Saadé has been named chief executive officer of the CMA CGM Group.
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Jacques Saadé appointed his son to the top job at the Marseilles-based firm.
Jacques Saadé, who will remain chairman of the company, said, “Rodolphe has proven himself over the years, and he has my deepest trust as chief executive officer of the Group. I know that, with Rodolphe as CEO, with Farid Salem and Tanya Saadé Zeenny, our executive officers, and all our teams around the world, the group will continue its development with the same commitment and passion.”
After having left Lebanon to protect his family from civil war, Jacques Saadé moved to Marseilles where he set up the Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement (CMA) on Sept. 13, 1978, with one ship and one route linking Marseilles, Livorno (Italy), Lattakia (Syria) and Beirut (Lebanon).
The company grew over the years to become the third largest container carrier in the world.
• In 1983, CMA’s first vessels sailed beyond the Mediterranean Sea and through the Suez Canal;
• In 1986, CMA launched a service linking Northern Europe to Singapore, South Korea and Japan;
• In 1992, CMA’s first commercial office opened in China;
• In 1996, the French government decided to privatize Compagnie Générale Maritime (CGM), resulting in CMA taking over operations and merging the company in 1999;
• In 2005, CMA CGM took over Delmas;
• And in 2016, CMA CGM acquired Neptune Orient Line and its APL liner unit.
Rodolphe Saadé was previously executive officer of the company.
After he founded a company selling water coolers in the Middle East, he joined CMA CGM in 1994 in the U.S.
He then worked in Hong Kong before coming back to Marseilles to head a shipping service linking Northern China to Japan.
From 1997 to 2000, Rodolphe Saadé was in charge of a sucession of different services.
In 2008, when the cruise yacht Le Ponant, which was owned by a CMA CGM subsidiary, was hijacked, Rodolphe Saadé led negotiations with the pirates, which ended with the release of hostages.
In 2009, he took over responsibility of the group’s financial restructuring, while in 2015 and 2016, he led the company’s effort to acquire NOL/APL and negotiations to create the Ocean Alliance with COSCO, Evergreen, and OOCL, which will commence operations in April.