19 May 2015
For immediate release
It is with great sadness that Grindrod reported today that Murray Grindrod Senior passed away at the age of 79 on 16 May 2015. After 21 years as chairman and 50 years’ service with the group, Murray Grindrod retired in 2007.
The Board of directors and all staff at Grindrod send their deepest condolences to his wife Pauli, daughters Anne-Marie and Josi, sons Walter and Murray Paul who are both very involved in Grindrod’s operations, and to the rest of the Grindrod family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this difficult time.
Murray Grindrod’s personal reputation of integrity will always remain the cornerstone on which the business was founded.
Murray Grindrod was the grandson of John Edward Grindrod, the founder of the Grindrod Group. Murray Grindrod’s interest in shipping started at an early age given his father’s involvement with African Coasters. At a young age, he also developed a keen interest in golf and truly mastered the sport in years to come. Murray Grindrod, successfully read engineering at Cambridge, captained the university golf team, and later went on to win the South African amateur title in 1960. He achieved South African colours in the sport on three occasions, including representing South Africa at the Eisenhower Trophy in the USA (1960) and in Rome four years later.
Murray Grindrod joined Grindrod Gersigny in 1957 – the managing agents for African Coasters. In his job he learnt the trade from the wharf side, becoming involved in the hiring of personnel, stevedoring and general ships husbandry. He also took every opportunity to study the ships at sea, which gave him a personal grasp of the trade and an affinity with the people aboard. It was his ability to relate to all from a knowledgeable position that earned him great respect, not only within the company but also in the shipping fraternity in South Africa and internationally. In 1960 he was appointed alternate director to his father.
When African Coasters needed an urgent capital injection to replace its ageing fleet, Murray Grindrod persuaded his father and Cecil Renaud to seek finance elsewhere. He led the team that secured the finance from Union Corporation, paving the way for the modernization of the fleet and subsequent takeover of Smith’s Coasters and Thesen’s Steamship Company and the formation of Unicorn Lines.
Under Murray Grindrod’s leadership as managing director, Unicorn pioneered the country's fully cellular coastal container service in 1971.
While still in his early thirties, he was invited to serve on the Transport Advisory Committee of the Department of Transport and was later the President of the South African Shipowners’ Association.
A personal sense of achievement for Murray Grindrod followed the acquisition of the majority shareholding from Union Corporation's successor, Gencor in 1986 and the listing of the group in the same year.
With Murray Grindrod's full support and encouragement, Ivan Clark and Alan Olivier travelled to Athens to negotiate successfully for the purchase of Safmarine’s 40 percent shareholding in Unicorn in 1998. Grindrod Group now had full control and became the leading ship owner in South Africa. He was also very supportive of the purchase of Island View Shipping, a far-sighted move that positioned the group extremely favourably when the surge in bulk shipping occurred from around 2003.
In 1998 Murray Grindrod announced that he would be stepping down as chairman of Unicorn Lines and that Ivan Clark would take over as the executive chairman in January the following year. This significant event meant that Murray Grindrod was effectively retiring from the daily operations of the company that had been an integral part of his life and the lives of two previous generations of the Grindrod family. During the years of successes and difficult patches, the stabilizing factor in Unicorn had been the firm, pragmatic voice of Murray Grindrod. He retained his seat on the board of Unicorn Lines and remained the chairman of the Grindrod Limited board until his retirement in 2007.
Walter and Murray Paul represent the fourth generation of the Grindrod family to be involved in the Grindrod Group business.
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