Sonepar Founder and Honorary Chairman Henri Coisne Dies at 99

He established what would become the world’s leading electrical distributor in 1969.

Henri Coisne
Henri Coisne

It is with great sadness and emotion that Sonepar announces the passing of founder and honorary chairman Henri Coisne during the night of Dec. 15- 16 at the age of 99.

He was surrounded by his family and will now be reunited with his wife, Malou.

Beyond being a “great captain of industry,” it was his simplicity, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his integrity that will have marked his life. Coisne, following a family lead, recognized very early the potential of the electrical distribution industry. In 1969, he founded Sonepar, which today has become the world’s leading electrical distributor, present in over 40 countries with 45,000 associates.

Sonepar shares the grief of his children, Henri, Martine, Sylvie, Marie-Christine and Laurence, their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren.

“Our father was a pioneer who was an inspiration to all of us. He was always ambitious and driven by an entrepreneurial spirit which will continue to guide the Group in the future," said Sonepar Chairman Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette. "He was fair and good man. As a family business, he was obsessed with the long term and even if he no longer held an operational role, he always remained fully up to date with all the developments in the group.

"As he would often say, what counts is what lasts. Over 50 years later, Sonepar’s independence remains a key strength to support the group’s strategy of sustainable, long-term growth, powered by the commitments of its family shareholders.”

More in Operations