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Wilhelm Wilhelmsen Norwegian shipowner dies at the age of 82

PortandTerminal.com, February 23, 2020

The passing of a maritime industry icon. The fourth-generation ship owner turned the liner company into a car carrier and a powerful maritime services provider

LYSAKER, NORWAY – Wilhelm Wilhelmsen died on February 22 at the age of 82. Wilhelmsen was the fourth-generation owner of the family shipping business. The Wilhelmsen group was founded in Tønsberg in 1861 by his great-grandfather.

Wilhelmsen, born June 8, 1937, was a very well-respected business leader and spokesperson for Norwegian shipping and the maritime industry at large.

W.Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg. M/S Topeka 1949 – 1971.

The Wilhelmsen group was established by his great grandfather in Tønsberg, Norway in 1861. Although he had many positions in the company from a very young age, Wilhelmsen 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.

Thomas Wilhelmsen portrait, wearing suit jacket and open neck blue shirt
Thomas Wilhelmsen, the current CEO of Wilhelmsen, is the 5th generation of his family to lead the shipping line

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 almost 60 years.

A red and white, Wallenius Wilhlmsen ship steaming towards camera
Wilhelmsen was a key figure in developing the family’s shipping line’s RoRo business

In addition to serving on boards of many companies and having honorary posts in several Norwegian and international shipping and maritime organizations, Wilhelmsen believed in sharing some of the values his family generated. Through the Tom Wilhelmsens Stiftelse, a family foundation named after his father, he contributed to the donation of large sums back to society, including maritime and medical research, sports, culture and humanitarian organizations. For his outstanding contribution to business and society, he received The Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav Knight 1st Class in 2007. 

Wilhelmsen leaves his wife Ninni, three children and eight grandchildren behind.

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