Rossignol Leader Laurent Boix Vives Passes Away At Age 93
Rossignol Group employees were deeply saddened this morning to learn of the death of Laurent Boix-Vives. The company’s legendary president and leader for some 50 years, Boix-Vives passed away on Thursday, June 18th at the age of 93. The Group extends its sincere condolences to his family and loved ones in the name of the great Rossignol family of which he was the spiritual father.
Laurent Boix-Vives was a visionary industrialist and a leading personality in the ski industry throughout his career. A leader in the development of winter sports throughout both France and worldwide, Boix-Vives helped create and develop the ski resort of Courchevel before acquiring Rossignol in 1956 at the age of 29. The passionate entrepreneur then transformed Rossignol into the world’s leading ski company through a combination of innovation and internationalization. Rossignol was founded in 1907 by Abel Rossignol, who manufactured wood products (such as spindles) for the textile industry. Rossignol, a committed skier, used his carpentry skills to make a pair of skis out of solid wood. In 1937, Émile Allais of France became triple world champion on Rossignol Olympic 41 skis.
Born in Savoie, France in 1926 and self-made man, Boix-Vives worked with his family selling produce and building ski lifts in the Courchevel region. In 1956, he purchased the ski factory which was in difficultes from founder Abel Rossignol and subsequently Rossignol became the leading ski manufacturer in the world, adding Dynastar, Kerma, Lange and Look along the way.
When Laurent Boix-Vives bought the company it only focused on skiing equipment and began to sell worldwide. Rossignol had a breakthrough during the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, United States, when Jean Vuarnet of France won the downhill on Allais 60s, the company's first all-metal skis.
In 1964, Rossignol released the Strato, its first fiberglass ski. In the 1970s, Rossignol set up a distribution company in the U.S., launching its first Nordic skis and soon became the world's largest ski manufacturer. At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Rossignol triumphed winning six out of ten gold medals in alpine events.
In 1990, Rossignol under Boix-Vives acquired the Caber boot factory in Italy and Trappeur in France and rebranded the product under the Rossignol brand., Rossignol already controlled the Lange ski boot brand. The company also acquired the Geze and Look ski bindings ranges, rebranding Geze. It soon moved into snowboards and mountain clothing.
Boix-Vives placed an equal amount of his passion and focus toward racing, remaining very close to Rossignol’s many athletes and champions throughout the years, and placing competition at the heart of the company’s values.
From the little town of Voiron, France, Boix-Vives continued to focus his energy, attention to detail, and vision on the company until 2005, marking fifty years of intense dedication to the world of skiing as he positioned Rossignol as the global market leader. In March 2005,Boix-Vives celebrated the incredible benchmark of 50 million pairs of skis produced.
Laurent Boix-Vives remains forever an integral part of Rossignol, the company he ran from 1956 to 2005 and to which he devoted his life.
Rossignol Group President & CEO Bruno Cercley said, “Rossignol Group has lost its legendary figurehead, who succeeded in turning a small workshop in Voiron into the world’s leading ski group. Laurent Boix-Vives was certainly one of the 20th century’s greatest entrepreneurial success stories, and he was instrumental in popularizing winter sports in France and throughout the world. The great Rossignol family is profoundly saddened to learn of his passing. Those lucky enough to have met him remember a deeply humane man who was always ready to listen and as caring as he was exacting. He managed to pass on his great attention to detail and to doing things well to those around him. We have lost a symbol, a mentor and a friend.”