Olivier Dassault was a French politician, photographer, and billionaire who served as a member of the National Assembly of France. He is known to have served as a professional IFR pilot and reserve commander for the French Air Force, where he set the world’s highest airspeed records.
Olivier Dassault was born on Friday, June 1, 1951 (aged 69 at time of death), in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. His zodiac sign is Gemini. In 1974, he graduated from the Salon-de-Provence Air School as a combat engineering officer and pilot. Forbes He obtained his DEA (Diploma of advanced studies equivalent to a master’s degree) in mathematical decision-making sciences in 1976. In 1980, he obtained his doctorate in computer management. Globe News Wire
- Height (approx.) : 5′ 8 ft
- Eye color: Green
- Hair color: Salt and Pepper
Family and Ethnicity
He belonged to a family of Jewish origin with the surname “Bloch”. His grandfather changed his surname to “Dassault” and converted to Catholicism later in life.
Parents, Brothers, and Sisters
He was born to Serge Dassault, businessman and politician, and Nicole Raffel (chairman of Dassault Groupe.)
His brother, Laurent Dassault (b. 7 July 1953; age 68 years), is a businessman. He had another brother named Thierry Dassault (b. 26 March 1957; age 64 years), a French investor and billionaire entrepreneur. He had a sister named Marie-Hélène Habert-Dassault, a philanthropist, and was named the head of the French aeronautics and defense empire built by Serge Dassault after the death of Olivier Dassault. France 24
He is the grandson of Marcel Dassault (22 January 1892- 17 April 1986), a French industrialist and founder of the Dassault Group.
Wife, & Children
In 1989, he married Carole Tranchant (professor at Université de Moncton) Caroline C. Tranchant – LinkedIn and then divorced. The couple had a daughter Helena Dassault (born in 1990.)
In 2009 he married Natacha Nikolajevic (French artist and art gallery owner.)
He had two children with Natacha Nikolajevic- Rémi (born in 1995); Thomas (born in 2011).
As an Air Force officer
His career as an Air Force officer began in 1975. His highest speed records include:
- 1977: New York to Paris in a Dassault Falcon 50 (with Hervé Leprince-Ringuet)
- 1987: New Orleans to Paris in a Dassault Falcon 900
- 1996: Paris to Abu Dhabi in a Falcon 900 EX
- 1996: Paris to Abu Dhabi in Falcon 900 EX (both together with Guy Mitaux-Maurouard and Patrick Experton)
As a businessman
After the death of his grandfather in 1986, his father appointed him deputy director of Dassault Falcon Service, SARL, and director of civil aeronautics strategy for Dassault Aviation. He was vice-president of the publishing house Valmonde, which publishes magazines such as Le Spectacle du monde, Jours de Chasse, and Valeurs contemporaires.
He also administered the publishing company Socpresse, which published the conservative daily Le Figaro, the weekly L’Express, and the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.
In 2011, he was appointed chairman of the board of directors of the Dassault Group, but later resigned on the grounds that his role as a businessman was incompatible with his mandate as a deputy; he was succeeded by his sister, Helen.
As a politician
After having been a part of the Council of Paris (1977-1989) alongside Mayor Jacques Chirac, he fought in the legislative elections on the candidacy of the Rally for the Republic (RPR) of the 1st constituency of the Oise in 1988 and won.
He again won the 1993 elections on the candidacy of the RPR. He was deputy for the 1st constituency of Oise in the candidacy of the Union for a popular movement (UMP) in the elections of 2002, 2003, and 2007, and in the candidacy of the Republicans (LR) in 2012 and 2017. He also wanted to do local politics and fought municipal elections. In 1995, he fought again in the municipal elections of Beauvais but lost. In 1992, he became vice-president of the Regional Council of Picardy. As a member of the UMP party in the National Assembly, he headed the Finance Committee. He has held various positions as President of Parliament, including the Parliamentary Intergroup on Communication (1995-96), President of the Partnership France Club (since 1996), and President of the Entrepreneurs Committee for the Republicans (2015). Among these positions taken as a parliamentarian, Olivier Dassault supported the restoration of the death penalty in France. In April 2004, Olivier signed a bill to restore the death penalty for perpetrators of acts of terrorism. In 2011, he said he was against legalizing same-sex marriage. The Times
At the end of the sixties, he launched into portrait photography. At first, he photographed French film actresses Jane Birkin, Isabelle Adjani, and Isabelle Huppert, then turned to abstract photography.
He has published thirteen photographic works in France and other places like Houston, Jerusalem, and Palm Springs.
He started his work in the French entertainment industry as a film producer and later opened an advertising agency (which he later handed over to someone else). In 1975, he began to compose the music for the short film “Camera”. He made his film debut as a composer with “Une fille cousue de fil blanc” (1977) and composed many other French films. He made his television debut as a composer with the French series “Le Crime d’Ovide Plouffe (1984)”. In 2007, he became a writer with his book “La France en majuscules”.
Honors and Achievements
- Knight of the Legion of Honour
- Officer of the National Order of Merit
- Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters
- Ranked 361st on the Forbes list of billionaires 2020
On March 7, 2021, at the age of 69, he died in a helicopter accident in Touques in the northwest of France, while he was leaving for the weekend in his vacation home in Normandy. BBC The pilot also died in the crash. After his death, the prosecution of Lisieux (Calvados) announced that it had opened a judicial investigation for manslaughter.
French Media Reports Dassault Aviation Paid 1 million Euros To ‘Middleman’ – a man from India. The report says that the French aircraft manufacturer had paid the amount to Defsys Solutions for 50 models of the airplane which were to be delivered as “gifts”. ABP Live
As of September 2020, his net worth was $4.7 billion and he was considered the 361st richest man in the world. Forbes
- Corales at the Puntacana Resort and Club in Punta Cana, with his wife L’officiel USA
- A domain in Sologne, one of the most popular with authentic hunting owners
- Properties in Salbris and Les Châtelliers-Châteaumur in France
- Photographer(s): Lucien Clergue, Sarah Moon, Helmut Newton, Bettina Rheims, Peter Beard, Olivier Föllmi, Ernst Haas
- Book: ‘The eye listens’ by Paul Claudel
- Drink: Russian Earl Gray tea
- Artist: Maurice Marino
Facts / Anecdotes
- In his spare time, he enjoyed golfing, swimming, playing chess, reading, and attending art exhibitions.
- One of his hobbies included hunting, which he usually did in Sologne, a popular place among hunters.
- He was the heir to the family group of aerospace and software companies, Dassault Group, which began during World War I after his grandfather, Marcel, founded Dassault Aviation and sold propellers during the war; the group builds famous Rafale fighter planes. The family owns a cellar. In 2018, Forbes estimated the Dassault family at $22.6 billion.
- Olivier Dassault founded the Association d’Entraide, which supports the elderly and disadvantaged in the Oise department.
- In July 2002, he founded “Génération Entreprise” with Jean-Michel Fourgous and Hervé Novelli. Génération Entreprise is a parliamentary study group which he chaired from October 2012 until his death. Génération Entreprise is associated with 120 parliamentarians.
- He also chaired the friendship group of France and Saudi Arabia in the National Assembly during the 14th legislature.
- Talking about his style of photography and the inspiration behind his photos in an interview, he said:
Several great photographers have marked me. I am a colorist and yet I admire the masters of black and white: Ronis, Steichen, Doisneau. Brassaï’s passion for sidewalks and walls opened my eyes to street art. I am also touched by the way Lucien Clergue, Sarah Moon, and Helmut Newton have shown the body. There would be many other artists to mention such as Bettina Rheims, Peter Beard, Olivier Föllmi… Without forgetting Ernst Haas, particularly important for understanding my turn towards abstraction. I liked to treat faces like landscapes, with a bucolic bias! Architecture and my taste for modern art later led me to explore the beauty inherent in the visual harmony of building facades, balconies, or a row of chairs. The need to free myself from painting opened me up to a more abstract vision of everyday life. “
- As a teenager, he was quite shy and started photographing by clicking pictures of his sister and her girlfriends. Very quickly, he became attached to photography and decided to become a photographer. However, his parents wanted him to become an engineer and had other goals for him. They gave him the condition that he could do whatever he wanted, instead, he should first become an engineer. Talking about this in an interview, he said,
I was quite a shy teenager when I started out, and holding the camera helped me assert myself, both to the outside world – young girls! (Laughs). The camera has become my accomplice, my intimate, a part of me. I invested in photography with much more curiosity and taste than for other disciplines. I experimented in every way! Then the recognitions that followed, the sharing, when I started showing my images, only established the need I felt to create and express myself with this medium. It showed me that I was choosing the right path.
- Olivier Dassault is also the composer of the anthem of the National Assembly, giving the institution another face of its creative personality.
- The Dassaults also own France’s daily newspaper Le Figaro, vineyards, and a private aeronautic company.
His first work as a photographer was “Oniropolis” (1977).