Remembering Aviation's Serge Dassault
The aviation world was rocked by news of the passing of Serge Dassault, a visionary pioneer and billionaire industrialist. Age had not held one of France’s richest men back; Dassault died in his office on the Champs-Elysees at his desk on the 28th May, aged 93.
Groupe Dassault issued the following statement:
"It is with an infinite sadness that we learn of the death of Mr. Serge Dassault, chairman and CEO of Groupe Dassault, and the former chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. Dassault Aviation’s management, engineers, technicians, employees, and workers all send their deepest and most sincere condolences to Mrs. Dassault, her children, and grandchildren.”
European Business Aviation Association chairman Juergen Wiese said in his introductory remarks at EBACE's opening general session: “Yesterday, the business aviation family lost one of its great leaders and figures. Serge Dassault was a giant and legend, an innovator and pioneer, in commerce and politics, in France and across Europe. Our hearts go out to the [Groupe] Dassault family and our hearts go out to the Dassault family that are here with us in Geneva this week. We dedicate EBACE 2018 to that legend, Serge Dassault.”
SERGE Dassault was an aerospace magnate, arms industrialist, newspaper publisher, and one of France’s richest men. He was especially known for the development of France’s Mirage jet fighters, as well as for equipping the French Air Force and other governments and militaries through global sales. He was chairman and CEO of the Dassault Group when he died, and president of honor of Dassault Aviation, which he once led.
The March 2018 edition of Forbes ranked Dassault as having the fourth-largest fortune in France, worth 19 billion euros ($22.6 billion.)
He was born Serge Bloch in Paris on April 4 1925, the second son of Marcel Bloch, who had founded his first aircraft company in 1928. During the Second World War, the family was held in internment. After the war, Marcel Bloch began to rebuild his business and changed the family name to Dassault.
Serge was educated at the Lycée Janson de Sailly, Paris, and the Ecole Nationale Superieure de l’Aeronautique, before joining the family business in the 1950s. It wasn't until his father's death in 1986 though that he was finally able to take over.
The office of President Emmanuel Macron praised a man who, he said, had consecrated his life to developing a flagship of French industry.
Survivors include his wife, Nicole, their daughter and three sons. The oldest son, Olivier, is a deputy in the national assembly.
ABOUT DASSAULT AVIATION
With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones. In 2017, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €4.8 billion. The company has 11,400 employees.