Dassault Aviation said it is with great sadness they learned of the death of Olivier Dassault, at the age of 69, in a helicopter accident on 7 March 2021.
An aviation enthusiast, like his grandfather Marcel Dassault and his father Serge Dassault, he was always keenly interested in developing the business of our company.
He was born on 1 June 1951 in Boulogne-Billancourt. He was an engineering graduate from the Ecole de l’Air, held a DEA diploma in Mathematical Decision Sciences and a Doctorate in management computing.
Following his solid scientific training, Olivier Dassault’s first steps in professional life helped him to gain experience of the communication sector, notably as a film producer and then by creating his own advertising agency.
He was a professional pilot since 1975, and jointly held world speed records - with Hervé Le Prince-Ringuet in 1977 from New York to Paris on a Falcon 50 and in 1987 from New Orleans to Paris on a Falcon 900 - and with Guy Mitaux-Maurouard and Patrick Experton in 1996 on a Falcon 900EX from Paris to Abu Dhabi and Paris to Singapore.
In 1986, his father Serge Dassault entrusted him with a number of roles and responsibilities within the Dassault company, appointing him Deputy Vice-President for Europe Falcon Service, and then Vice-President of Civil Aircraft Strategy in 1993.
He was Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Marcel Dassault industrial group (GIMD) until 2017 and Director at Dassault Aviation since 1996. Throughout his life, he was a determined defender of our company and of French aeronautics.
Moreover, on Thursday, March 4, 2021, during the last Board of Directors meeting, he gave his full support to the company in its management of the COVID-19 crisis.
He was also a media man, holding the position of Chairman of the Valmonde group, where he created the hunting magazine Jours de Chasse (2000) devoted to another of his passions. He became a Director of Socpresse (now Groupe Figaro) after the latter was bought out by GIMD in 2004.
While continuing to be professionally active, he entered politics. He was elected as a Member of Parliament (RPR party) in 1988, winning back the Oise first district during the parliamentary by-elections. He was an MP in the Oise department from 1988 to 1997, and then again since 2002.
An artist at heart, Olivier Dassault was an accomplished musician and notably composed the anthem for Parliament, showing this institution another side of his creative personality.
He was also a well-known photographer. He published many books of photographs and regularly exhibited his work successfully, in France and abroad.
He was a Reserve Captain in the Air force, Knight of the Legion of Honor, Officer of the National order of Merit and Officer of the order of the Arts and Letters.
“Olivier Dassault was a man of many talents: pilot, engineer, politician, artist, whose achievements I have been able to appreciate on many occasions. He was first and foremost, for me, a very present Director, always at the company's side in the many challenges it faces,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation.
“To his wife and his three children, to his sister and his brothers, our company wishes to express its deepest emotion, its gratitude and its support,” Trappier added.
With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft (including 2,500 Falcons) 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, military drones and space systems.
In 2020, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €5.5 billion. The company has 12,440 employees.