Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, Partner of Maersk Shipping – Obituary

By Tom
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Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, Partner of Maersk Shipping - Obituary

Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller died today april 17th 2012

Shipping line owner, oil magnate and retail king.

To ask if Mr. Møller was Danish and a firm friend and allied of the USA is like asking if the pope is catholic!

Born in 1914 as the son of Arnold Peter Mærsk, founder of Mærsk Shipping Line.

At the occupation of Denmark in 1940 Maersk ordered its ship to seek allied port and to disobey any consequent orders from Copenhagen. Mærsk McKinney Møller was send to the USA to manage the shipping lines business in allied service. No doubt it was a move to save the company and its ships, but the fact remains that these ships sailed for the allies during the entire world war.

The decision was indubitably his more impetuous fathers – Mr. Møller had a distinct dislike for spur of the moment decision – however right they might be. Deliberate, thorough and dedicated: A hard man if you crossed him, but a firm believer in honest business practice, if for no other reason because in the long run it has the higher profit.

Returning after the war to Denmark it was a man with a hard earned self confidence that demanded influence and got it. As his father entered into the oil industry he was – against his wish – told to manage that area in addition to his other duties. Clear sighted: Cooperation was entered into with major oil companies in the recognition that the shipping line hadn’t the necessary expertise.

After his father died he took over seamlessly to the extent that made some doubt if he had his father’s spunk. He didn’t. He was far too deliberate and strategic for that. Due diligence was named after him. It wasn’t lack of initiative which he showed when against all advice he ordered some of the first large container ships. Not that he never put a foot wrong – he did on occasion; but never more than it could be managed. He would have resented being attributed with a “Midas Touch” – it was hard work and a work that he thoroughly enjoyed. The strategic perspective was ever present, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t rant off the vital statistics of every ship the line had ever owned on demand.

One can’t help to wonder why his death followed immediately after the general assembly of the shipping line and on the Queen’s birthday. Nothing was ever unplanned.

His importance to the Danish nation and the United States of America can hardly be overstated. The shipping line with the seven pronged white star on a light blue cloth was as is the only shipping line that can transport an American army on demand! American shipping lines have repeatedly tried to block his expansion referring to the strategic needs of the US armed forces – as if he hadn’t thought of that. He had immediate access to the President of the United States – all of them – since Eisenhower (it remains a mystery why he avoided mentioning President Kennedy). He most certainly was received by the leader of the Chinese Peoples Republic – and he would greet the night watchman of the opera he donated Copenhagen (he didn’t mind paying taxes, but he most certainly would have a say in how that money was spend).

Denmark’s present strong strategic position is closely allied to his efforts. Denmark is an oil exporting country and can – as a nation – take fluctuating oil prices with serenity. A large part of Denmark’s power is wind generated. Not only has that but also a full line energy expertise from exploration over transportation to refining capacity. Denmark cannot be blackmailed.

One thing he was not, was sentimental.

Some have claimed he was without a sense of humor :

Once he was unsatisfied with something the socialist finance minister Mogens Lykketoft had made and said testily: “If I were a young man, I would most certainly have emigrated!” Lykketoft replied: “Then it is fortunate that we have introduced this reform after You have reached an age where this no longer is an option.” Hr. Møller and his accountant laughed.

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