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Obituary: Jean Taittinger

Jean Taittinger, honorary chairman of Champagne Taittinger has died at the age of 89.

The father of the house’s current president and CEO, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, passed away on 23 September and has been buried in a private family ceremony.

As well as being head of the Champagne house and co-owner of the luxury hotel group, Société du Louvre, Taittinger was heavily involved in both local and national politics.

He was mayor of Reims between 1957 and 1977 and served in the cabinet of French president Georges Pompidou as secretary of state for finance as well as minister for justice and later state between 1971 and 1974.

Taittinger was born on 25 January 1923, the son of Pierre Taittinger who founded the family’s Champagne business in the 1930s.

He served with the Free French under General Edgard de Larminatin 1945 and took over the Champagne business with his brother Claude when their father died.

He took controlling stake in Société du Louvre in 1954 and while remaining co-chairman of Taittinger, increasingly focused on the hotel side of the business.

When he gave control of the hotel business to his daughter Anne-Marie in 1997, it was valued at US$800 million.

Upon news of his death, a statement from French President François Hollande’s office said: “our nation loses a great servant of the state and a great entrepreneur.”

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