Murray Grindrod senior passes away | Infrastructure news

Murray Grindrod Senior, the grandson of Grindrod Group founder John Edward Grindrod, has died. He was 79.

Murray spent 50 years with the Grindrod group, 21 years of which were served as chairman of the company. Joining Grindrod Gersigny in 1957, he became alternate director to his father in 1960.

When African Coasters needed an urgent capital injection to replace its ageing fleet, Murray 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 modernisation of the fleet and subsequent takeover of Smith’s Coasters and Thesen’s Steamship Company and the formation of Unicorn Lines.

Under Murray’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 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.

He supported and encouraged the purchase of Safmarine’s 40 percent shareholding in Unicorn in 1998, as well as the purchase of Island View Shipping.

Later that year he stepped down as chairman of Unicorn Lines, handing over to Ivan Clark. However, he retained his seat on the board of Unicorn Lines and remained the chairman of the Grindrod Limited board until retirement in 2007.

He leaves behind his wife Pauli, daughters Anne-Marie and Josi, and sons Walter and Murray Paul – both of whom are involved in Grindrod’s operations.

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