Shipping group CMA CGM's founder Jacques Saade dies at 81

PARIS, June 25 (Reuters) - Jacques Saade, the Lebanese immigrant who founded French shipbuilding firm CMA CGM and oversaw its rise to become a leading player in its global sector, died on June 24, the company said on Monday.

Saade, who was 81, set up the group after leaving Lebanon following the civil war in that country, starting off with four employees, a single ship and only one maritime service between Marseilles and Beirut.

CMA CGM, which is the world's third-largest container shipping group, had already said last year that Rodolphe Saade would succeed his father as its new chief executive.

CMA CGM reported in March a $701 million net profit for last year, confirming its turnaround after a shipping downturn in 2016 when it suffered a $452 million loss. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)