People and placesThis article was originally published in The Public Ledger
ROBERT Louis-Dreyfus, head of French group Louis-Dreyfus SAS, died on July 4 at the age of 63 after a long illness. Towards the end of a brilliant business career, Mr Louis-Dreyfus returned to the family business in 2000 and restructured the business empire founded by his great grandfather in 1851. Historically based on grain trading and rapidly extending to other activities, the family established a commercial bank and a global shipping operation, spun off in 2007 to Philippe Louis-Dreyfus. In 2007, Mr Louis-Dreyfus opened the world's biggest soya-based biodiesel plant in Indiana and acquired 4,000 hectares of forest in Brittany to develop a biomass business. Mr Louis-Dreyfus was better known as the owner of the Olympique de Marseille football team in later life. The family group Louis Dreyfus SAS spans the globe, employing 10,000 staff and one of the largest privately owned commodity businesses in the world.