Rodolphe Saadé, the man who sails in the media

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The Marseille shipowner is sailing from record to record and wants to get out of its waters. CMA-CGM generated in 2022 the largest profits in its history with more than 23 billion euros. Beating his own performance of the previous year. Results driven by soaring post-Covid maritime freight rates. At its head since 2017, the discreet Rodolphe Saadé inherited the company founded in 1978 by his father Jacques, an immigrant who arrived from Lebanon in Marseille with his suitcase. Having become a logistics giant, CMA-CGM is the world’s third largest shipowner.

On the strength of his successes, Rodolphe Saadé now nurtures ambitions in the media . After the takeover of “La Provence”, he took a stake in M6 and could enter in the capital of Brut . At 81 million euros, he snatched the Marseille daily from his rival Xavier Niel, after a legal battle and tight influence. And at a price, in the end, much higher than its value. Rodolphe Saadé has, moreover, already had to face some challenges at the head of “La Provence”, including that of bringing another good thirty million euros to bail him out.

The football map

However, we doubt that his projects stop there in the media. A dedicated division has emerged within the group, which suggests a comprehensive strategy. Rodolphe Saade would he be the new tycoon ? The CMA-CGM tower designed by architect Zaha Hadid which dominates the port of Marseille sets the tone. A big employer, very invested in the local ecosystem, Rodolphe Saadé also has a trump card in Marseille: he is a sponsor of OM. An additional et to weigh in the Marseille city, and beyond.

La Story is a podcast from Les Echos presented by Pierrick Fay. This episode was recorded in March 2023. Editor-in-chief: Clémence Lemaistre. Guests: Stéphane Loignon and Marina Alcaraz (journalists in the Tech-Media department of “Les Echos”). Directed by: Willy Ganne. Production and publishing manager: Michèle Warnet. Music: Théo Boulenger. Graphic identity: Upian. Photo: Abd Rabbo-POOL/SIPA. Sounds: Les Pe Chanteurs du Rock “Maman the little boats” (2016), “Le Prénom” (2011), “Citizen Kane” (1941), BFM TV, “Pascal, le Grand Frère”, Freebox, France Inter.

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