Investigators Search For Shipwreck Cause, Funeral Mass for Michelin Set - Tire Review Magazine

Investigators Search For Shipwreck Cause, Funeral Mass for Michelin Set

(Akron/Tire Review) Barring weather problems today, French navy drivers were expected to examine the wreckage of the 24-foot fishing boat that sunk off the Brittany coast, claiming the life of Edouard Michelin, chief executive and managing partner of Groupe Michelin.

The accident happened Friday while Michelin and Guillaume Normant, head of a regional fishing association, were on a fishing trip.

An underwater robot located the wrecked boat under some 240 feet of water approximately nine miles off the island of Sein on France’s Atlantic coast. Michelin’s body was found late Friday, but there was no sign of Normant.

Michelin and Normant left on a sea bass fishing trip early Friday. The area in which they were reportedly fishing is considered one of the most dangerous along France’s coast, and reports said that, despite the day’s fair weather, a heavy fog hung over the area until late afternoon. Reports said that, though the area, off the island of Sein, is known as one of the most treacherous parts of a hazardous coast, Normant knew it well and was considered an ideal guide.

Jean-Marie Figue, a spokesman for French maritime authorities, said: “It is a dangerous area where only professionals can fish. There are rocks, currents – it’s a real whirlpool.”

A funeral mass for Michelin will be held tomorrow (May 31) at 2:30 p.m. local time at the cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand, Groupe Michelin’s home. Michelin facilities worldwide will observe a moment of silence in his honor.

Further details regarding a memorial will be announced at a later time, Michelin officials said.

Michelin is survived by his wife and six children and by three brothers, a sister, and his father, Francois.

Accolades for the late leader poured in from all over the world. French President Jacques Chirac expressed "great sadness.” Michelin was "at the head of a group which has a special place for the French people," Chirac said. "Edouard Michelin was able considerably to modernise his business by making it a French industrial champion recognised by all."

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, said Michelin was one of the "rising figures" of the French economy.

"Edouard’s management style was dynamic and modern, and it allowed his company to become competitive to the point that it became an example to follow in the French economy," said Renault’s Formula One president, Alain Dassas.

“The FIA extends sincere condolences to the Michelin family on the sad news of the death of Edouard Michelin,” said Formula One racing’s governing body in a statement. “Our thoughts are with Mr. Michelin’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”

“We have always had the highest regard and admiration for Mr. Edouard Michelin, and we express our deepest sympathy to both his family and his company,” Bridgestone Corp. said in a statement.

Edouard Michelin was born in Paris in 1963. He grew up in the tradition of the family business as the youngest of four sons of FranÇois Michelin, former Groupe Michelin CEO, and a great-grandson of Michelin’s co-founder Edouard Michelin, for whom he was named.  

In high school, Edouard was interested in learning about the culture of the U.S. He made his first extended visit to North America in 1979 and attended a semester of his 10th grade school year in Greenville, S.C., where Michelin had opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in 1975.   

He received his engineering degree from Ecole Centrale in Paris. At age 22, he joined Michelin and began actively learning the business by assuming roles in various departments, including research, tire manufacturing and product marketing.
He returned to the U.S. again in 1987 and worked at Michelin Americas Research and Development Center (MARC) in Greenville, S.C. After serving in the French navy from 1987 to 1988, he rejoined Groupe Michelin in 1988 in production and sales posts.

He returned to Greenville in May 1991 to assume responsibility for the Michelin Americas Truck Tires (MATT). Later that year, he was named co-managing partner of Groupe Michelin, and he returned to France in 1993.


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