Jacques R. S aadé (born in 1937), is the CEO and founder of CMA CGM, the third largest container shipping company in the world, with 370 vessels plying 150 major shipping routes between 403 ports in 150 different countries.
In 1996, the government led by Alain Juppe decided the privatization of CGM (Compagnie Générale Maritime), itself the merging of Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes since 1977. CMA purchased CGM. Since Saadé is a personal friend of President Jacques Chirac and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the openness of the transacation was questioned: CGM had been recapitalized by the French state a few months before the purchase, the price paid by Saadé was fairly low, and CMA had hidden some big financial problems. A judicial inquiry on the privatization of CGM haunted for years the French president and its party establishment.
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