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COVID-19 claims life of EXMAR Chairman Baron Philippe Bodson

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Baron Philippe Bodson [Image: EXMAR]

Antwerp headquartered EXMAR today reported that Chairman of the Board, Baron Philippe Bodson, passed away on April 4 after losing his fight against COVID-19. Nicolas Saverys, previously CEO of EXMAR, is taking up the position of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, while Francis Mottrie, Deputy CEO of the EXMAR Group, has been appointed as CEO.

EXMAR’s just-published Annual Report contains the following tribute to Baron Phillippe:


After three weeks of fighting COVID-19, Baron Philippe Bodson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of EXMAR, passed away in Brussels on the 4th of April 2020. He was born in Liège on the 2nd of November 1944.

He obtained a degree in Civil Engineering in Liège and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at INSEAD in Fontainebleau / France.

In 1977, Philippe Bodson joined Glaverbel where he was Managing Director and Chairman from 1980 till 1989. As from 1989 till 1999, he was Managing Director of Tractebel and Chairman of Electrabel and Distrigaz. From 1999 till 2003, he was senator in the Belgian Senate.

Thereafter and until last week, Philippe continued his impressive career.

He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Floridienne and Hamon, Chairman of Free Fair Post Initiative (NGO), member of the Board of Directors of AEI (Houston), Bluesky, Cobepa and advisor of Credit Suisse, and Chairman of the International Polar Foundation.Since 2002 he was member of the Board of EXMAR and in 2005 he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of EXMAR.

Philippe was at his best in crisis and difficult situations. Baron Bodson liked to walk in the Hautes Fagnes (Ardennes), often alone. It gave him strength and inspiration.

At EXMAR Philippe understood and inspired the company. He was a great supporter of innovation, both in technical solutions and operational processes. Our Chairman did not need explanations, he was thinking with the company. In the years where EXMAR had some financial difficulties (bankruptcy of PRE), he brought serenity to the table.

Baron Philippe Bodson was an exceptional personality, admired and loved for his unconditional dedication to life, and to the EXMAR Group.

The human, Baron Philippe Bodson, was a man made of granite. An enormous concentration of human qualities in one human being, his enthusiasm, was contagious.

With Philippe people became better, stronger, provoking, with a touch of humour. Bringing consensus without obligating.

Philippe was impetuous but also had the ability to listen to others.

Baron Bodson has left us with a great legacy. We shall continue to promote his wisdom and love for the entrepreneurship in innovation.

On a personal note, I have lost a great and dear friend, an example and a source of inspiration. I shall continue to be inspired by his life and shall always follow his drive to find solutions to problems and be an innovative and cost-efficient shipowner.

Nicolas Saverys
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