Tributes pour in for ethical Catholic CEO

Tributes have been pouring in for Edouard Michelin, a Catholic tyre company boss admired for his ethical business leadership, who died tragically in a recent boat accident.

Tire Review Online reports that Edouard Michelin, who headed the Michelin tyre company before his death on 26 May, operated his family business ethically and was motivated by his Catholic faith.

"From an economic point of view, Michelin should have sold its rubber plantation after it became obvious that the plantation in the North of Brazil, close to Salvador-Bahia, could not be managed successfully and would continue to lose money," writes Klaus Haddenbrock, a colleague of Michelin in the tyre industry.

"But instead of selling the plantation and abandoning the people, leaving them without hope, Michelin looked for other and better alternatives, launching a [development] project at Ouro Verde."

"This provides a safety net and gives the people in one of the poorest regions of the world hope for a future worth living," he said.

Had Michelin closed the rubber plantation, said Haddenbrock, there would not have been a great outcry - but a few hundred already poor people would have been affected.

Edouard Michelin drowned in a boating accident when his fishing boat sank near the Atlantic coast. His body was found the same day close to the isle of Sein. He was only 42 years old.

Francois Michelin, Edouard's father and former CEO of the tyre business, said in 1996: "there is no lesser responsibility. Everyone, at whatever level, carries full responsibility for everything he does or fails to do regarding the people and the shareholders."

Edouard Michelin, as a Chief Executive Officer of the business, developed this into the "Michelin Charter - Performance and Responsibility." "The Charter was influenced by the the Michelin family's Catholic faith," says Haddenbrock.

"While other big leaders are aiming to maximise profits and seeing this as an end in itself, future Michelin leaders will continue to ask 'from where, and due to whose efforts' were the profits realised," concluded Haddenbrock.

According to a company media release, Michelin staff from China, South America and France have held memorial services in honour of Edouard Michelin. The staff independently organised and held the services in order to pay their respects.

Edouard Michelin: "One Just Has to Admire Him For That" (Tire Review Online, 13/6/2006)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Sustainable Mobility (Michelin Corporate)
Michelin Australia and NZ

Edouard Michelin Biography (enotes.com)

15 Jun 2006