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May 20, 2013

Obituary: Haldor Topsøe has passed away

Posted by Gerald Ondrey

It is with profound sadness that we inform you of the passing earlier today of Dr. Haldor Frederik Axel Topsøe, founder of Haldor Topsøe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; Haldor Topsøe was born on May 24th, 1913 and passed away on May 20th, 2013, shortly before his 100th birthday, after a brief period of illness. The birthday reception scheduled for tomorrow, May 21st, 2013 at the company headquarters has been cancelled.

Haldor Topsøe will be greatly missed by his entire family and by the company’s employees. Haldor Topsøe remained actively involved in the daily operations of Haldor Topsøe A/S as working Chairman of the Board until a few weeks before his death, when he most unfortunately fell and broke his hip, an accident from which he never recovered.

During his long life, Haldor Topsøe made significant contributions to the world in terms of technological and scientific innovation to address global challenges within energy, food supply and the environment. Haldor Topsøe has created a truly unique company — a world leader in the field of catalysis, which is instrumental in solving these issues.

Henrik Topsøe, son of Haldor Topsøe and Vice Chairman of the Board of Haldor Topsøe A/S, states: “On behalf of the entire Topsøe family, I express our deepest sorrow at the loss of our beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather. We have lost the inspiring and loving head of our family — just as science and business have lost a brilliant leader, and the larger world has lost a great man. Due to his perseverance and dedication, and his technological and scientific contributions, my father improved the lives of millions. He has set standards within many fields, and he never stopped pushing the technological boundaries.”

Not only was Haldor Topsøe a researcher, an entrepreneur, and a businessman, but he was also a family man, an idealist, and a humanitarian very much engaged in key world issues. In Haldor Topsøe’s own words: “The corporate world in itself means nothing unless it improves the lives of people and the conditions in poor countries.”

Bjerne S. Clausen, CEO of Haldor Topsøe A/S, adds: “Haldor Topsøe was a lighthouse and a tremendous inspiration to all of us — an icon in the business world. Haldor created a unique company, which he constantly and without hesitance pushed to where it is today. I am happy he lived to witness our record results achieved in 2012.”

´┐╝Haldor Topsøe graduated as a chemical engineer in 1936 and four years later founded the Haldor Topsøe company. Haldor Topsøe’s influence and unique results have been recognized worldwide with numerous awards and distinctions. A few that he was particularly proud of were the Grand Cross of the Order of Dannebrog, the Hoover Medal and being named ‘Engineer of the Century’ by the Danish Association of Engineers, as these distinctions all recognized his contributions to humanity and society at large.

The Topsøe family owns 100% of the shares in Haldor Topsøe A/S, and following the death of Haldor Topsøe, vice chairman of the Board, Henrik Topsøe, will take up the role as chairman of the Board in Haldor Topsøe A/S.

The family has recently concluded an ownership succession process, which means that ownership of the company has been passed on from Haldor Topsøe to the second and third generations of the family. The family remains fully committed to maintaining the ownership of the company in the family, and to the continued support of the long-term growth strategy as well as the continued development of the company in the spirit of its founder.

The family has decided that the funeral will be held in private. Instead of sending flowers to the funeral, the family welcomes donations to SOS Children’s Villages, or other charity organizations benefitting street children. For more information, please visit




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