and its employees with passion and determination, with the sole aim of ensuring the long-term viability of the French aerospace sector.”
Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
The son of Marcel Dassault and Madeleine Minckès, Serge Dassault was born in Paris on April 4, 1925. As a young man in the 1940s, Serge and his family – like millions of others across Europe – were affected by the horrors of World War II. His father, Marcel, survived imprisonment by the Gestapo and internment in the Nazi death camps before being freed in 1945. These experiences would remain with Serge for the rest of his life, serving as the motivation behind his passion for humanity and national sovereignty.
In 1951, Serge married Nicole Raffel, with whom he would go on to have four children: Olivier, Laurent, Thierry and Marie-Hélène. In that same year, after graduating from the École Polytechnique and the École Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique, Serge joined the design office at Générale Aéronautique Marcel Dassault. In 1955, he became director of flight tests, a position that involved him in the development of a large number of military aircraft – the Super Mystère B2, the Étendard, the Mirage III and the Mirage IV. Later, as Head of Exports, he led the negotiations that resulted in the sale of the Mirage III to Switzerland and Australia. He was also responsible for launching the Mystère 20 (subsequently the Falcon 20) sales campaign in the United States.
In 1963, Serge took over management of Électronique Marcel Dassault, becoming its Chief Executive Officer four years later. At his father’s death in 1986, he was named Chairman and CEO of Avions Marcel Dassault – Breguet Aviation – the forerunner of Dassault Aviation. A year later, he was appointed Chairman and CEO of Dassault Industries, now known as Groupe Dassault, the holding company that controls Dassault Aviation, Dassault Systèmes and a number of other businesses.
Under Serge’s leadership, Dassault Aviation developed and implemented a policy aimed at adapting the company to new market realities. His tenure was highlighted by the design and development of innovative aircraft that met customers’ evolving needs – notably the modernized Super-Étendard, Mirage 2000-5, Mirage 2000D and Rafale combat aircraft, and the Falcon 2000, Falcon 900EX, Falcon 50EX, Falcon 900C and multi-mission Falcon business jets. These successful programs paved the way for a number of later important undertakings, such as the drive to export the Rafale fighter, and the introduction of the Falcon 7X trijet.
Despite his devotion to Dassault’s business interests, Serge never forgot the company’s social responsibility and attached great importance to caring for its employees. For example, he ensured that every employee benefited from the company’s success by devising an incentive and profit-sharing plan that far exceeded what the law provisioned for. Through his long career, Serge was instrumental in helping Dassault Aviation rise to the challenges of the late 20th
and early 21st legacy behind him.
Aside from the Dassault business empire, Serge also served in the following capacities:
• Treasurer of the Union Syndicale des Industries Aéronautiques et Spatiales (USIAS)
• General Commissioner of the International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, successfully coordinating the organization of ten events
• President of the French Council of Defense Industries (CIDEF)
His many awards include:
• Aircraft Manufacturer of the Year, awarded by the American magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology
• The Aeronautics Medal • Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor
In addition to Serge’s business accomplishments, the employees of Dassault Aviation would like to cite his uncommon passion for aeronautics, his desire to foster the human side of entrepreneurship and the steady support he provided to the company as its majority stakeholder. This passion for excellence, vision and management stability remain the core strengths of Dassault Aviation today.
Our deepest condolences go out to Serge Dassault’s wife, children and grandchildren. We, the extended family of Dassault Aviation management, engineers, technicians, employees and workers, share their loss and bid Serge au revoir – may he rest in peace!
centuries, and leaves a remarkable
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