On this day, July 13 in the year 1913, the man who built the world’s largest shipping line was born in Denmark. His name was Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the former CEO of AP Moller-Maersk Group who always insisted on climbing the five stairs in his office. At the time of his death in 2012, his net worth was estimated at $14.5 billion, according to reuters.com
Maersk was the son of the founder of A. P. Moller Shipping line. His mother was a Scottish-American. After school, he joined the family shipping business with posting in different departments. He travelled around the world to learn the ropes of shipping. When Germany invaded Denmark during World War II, Maersk fled to the United States where he managed the company-owned ships that were not seized by the Germans. In 1947, he returned to Denmark. He became CEO and chairman of the company in 1965 when his father died. He remained as CEO until 1993 and stayed as chairman until 2003 when he was 90 years old.
During his tenure as CEO and chairman, he continued tight control of the company. He expanded the company’s fleet to 800 ships by buying some of its competitors. He also invested in other ventures such as shipbuilding, airline, oil, supermarket, and banking. In the process, he made Maersk Group the largest corporation in Denmark with its consolidated revenues equivalent to almost 20% of the country’s GDP.
In 2000, Maersk was awarded the Danish Order of the Elephant which made him a Knight and therefore, to be addressed as “His Excellency”. He was just one of three Danes to be given such an award. The Copenhagen Opera House was financed by his company.
Maersk died in 2012 at the age of 98. He had 3 children with his wife Emma, a high school sweetheart.