On May 28, Serge Dassault died at age of 93 in his office on the Champs-Elysees. His departure turns an important page in the history of Dassault Aviation and more than that, in French aviation.
Son of Marcel Dassault and Madeleine Minckes, Serge Dassault was born in Paris on April 4, 1925. Serge Dassault’s adult life began dramatically when, at the beginning of 1944, he was imprisoned by the Gestapo with his parents and his brother at Montluc near Lyon, then at Drancy, from where the prisoners are sent to the death camps. The Nazis thought they could force his father Marcel Dassault to put his aircraft designer skills to the service of the Third Reich. Marcel Dassault refused and was deported to Buchenwald in August 1944, whence he returned miraculously in May 1945. From this tragic experience, Serge Dassault has always been able to pay attention to the human person and national sovereignty.
A man of challenges
Graduate of the École Polytechnique and the National School of Aeronautics, Serge Dassault joined the research office of the Marcel Dassault General Aeronautics company in 1951. He became director of the flight tests department in 1955 and, as part of this work, develops a large number of military aircraft (Super Mystère B2, Étendard, Mirage III and Mirage IV). Then, appointed export manager, he led the negotiations that led to the sale of Mirage III to Switzerland and Australia. Serge Dassault also launches the sale campaign of Mystère 20 (now Falcon jet) in the United States.
In 1963, he took over the management of the company Électronique Marcel Dassault, of which he was appointed general manager on October 10, 1967. A position he held until December 23, 1986.
From October 29, 1986 to April 4, 2000, Serge Dassault was Chairman and CEO of Avions Marcel Dassault – Breguet Aviation (which became Dassault Aviation in 1990) before becoming Honorary Chairman. Since December 2, 1987, Serge Dassault was also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Industries, which became the Marcel Dassault Industrial Group on January 1, 2000.
Under his leadership, Dassault Aviation has constantly developed and implemented a policy aimed at adapting to the new realities of the market. Thus, he drove the company to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Under his terms, innovative aircraft meeting the needs of new customers, including the modernized Super-Étendard, the Mirage 2000-5, the Mirage 2000D and the Rafale for combat aircraft, as well as the Falcon 2000, the Falcon 900EX, the Falcon 50EX, the Falcon900C as well as the multimission Falcons were created.