The billionaire Saade shipping clan is shaking up its family office for the second time this year.
Michel Sirat, who was formerly CFO of Saade-controlled container-shipping line CMA CGM, is no longer managing director at Merit France, the firm that oversees the family’s fortune, according to a filing Tuesday.
A company representative confirmed his departure and said Sirat will be replaced by Nicolas Reynard, whose LinkedIn profile shows he’s currently head of corporate venture capital at CMA CGM.
Sirat, 62, was replaced as CFO this year while remaining in charge of the shipping company’s M&A and strategy. This will now be overseen by Xavier Bindel, the company said. His profile shows he was formerly at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The Saades’ empire has undergone rapid expansion in recent years following unprecedented gains at closely held CMA CGM, where second-generation Rodolphe Saade is CEO. The industry is now navigating a slump, with Saade raising the possibility this month that its difficulties could continue into 2025.
The Saade family is worth $18.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, down from an April high of about $33 billion. The heirs — including Rodolphe, 53; sister Tanya, 55; and brother Jacques, 52 — own 73% of CMA CGM, held through Merit.
The shipping company diversified its operations during the pandemic, adding air cargo following an investment in Air France KLM and expanding its logistics capabilities. The company is acquiring Bollore SE’s logistics arm — a record purchase with an enterprise value of €5 billion ($5.4 billion). Rodolphe Saade has also built up a stable of media assets.
His father, founder Jacques Saade, started the shipping company in 1978 with one leased vessel. Merit’s headquarters was transferred to France from Lebanon around 2021 following pressure from the French government and a tax probe.