Wilhelm Wilhelmsen has passed away on 22 February at the age of 82. Through a long career, he was a well-respected business leader and spokesperson for Norwegian shipping and the maritime industry at large.
Wilhelm Wilhelmsen represented the fourth-generation family owner of the Wilhelmsen group, a maritime industry group established by his great grandfather in Tønsberg, Norway in 1861.
Although he had many positions in the company from a very young age, he formally joined as a partner in 1964. In 1992, he accepted the position as chair of the board. Except for a short period as group CEO, he held the top position in the company until 2010. He remained active until the day he passed away.
Wilhelm Wilhelmsen was instrumental in developing the Wilhelmsen group from a traditional liner company with trades all over the world to one of the largest maritime industry groups with almost 15,000 employees in more than 70 countries. His extensive network and business relationships in Norway and internationally have been essential in building the company the past 60 years, He also steered through many important and difficult situations in the company’s history, including the offshore crisis in the 1980’s and the Partnair and Tampa incidents.
In addition to serving on boards of many companies and having honorary posts in several Norwegian and international shipping and maritime organisations, Wilhelm Wilhelmsen was a true believer in sharing some of the values his family generated. Through the Tom Wilhelmsens Stiftelse, a family foundation named after his father, he contributed to donate large sums back to society, including maritime and medical research, sports, culture, and humanitarian organisations. For his outstanding contribution to business and society, Wilhelm Wilhelmsen received The Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav Knight 1st Class in 2007.
This article first appeared on Project Cargo Journal, a sister publication of SWZ|Maritime.