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Obituary: DHL founder Bill Robinson

[ June 24, 2020   //   ]

DHL co-founder Bill Robinson passed away on 10 June. Born in 1938, He founded the carrier in 1969 while employed as a driver for a local courier company with Larry Hillblom Adrian Dalsey, Robert Lynn and other workmates, offering an alternative to the mail and airfreight to move business documents while overcoming significant opposition to the new industry from postal authorities, regulatory bodies and competitors.

Robinson is credited with ensuring that Larry Hillblom’s vision survived, lobbying  US Senators during DHL’s five-year battle with the US Civil Aeronautics Board including the filing of a lawsuit against the agency that resulted in a permit was finally issued.

He became president and chief executive of DHL’s Americas operation in 1979, at which time DHL began flying its own aircraft.

In the space of little more than 20 years, the DHL network spanned over 220 countries and territories.

Today, as part of the Deutsche Post DHL group, DHL is a global mega-brand and an essential component of doing business globally. Deutsche Post DHL Group chairman Frank Appel said: “Bill Robinson encapsulated the very spirit of DHL – an entrepreneur with a global outlook and an ability to break down barriers while building bridges. We are very grateful to Bill for the foundations he put in place for the express industry, which continues to drive global trade and deliver immense value for our customers around the world today.”

After retiring from DHL in the 1980s, Robinson set up Chimp Haven, a 200-acre sanctuary in Louisiana where chimpanzees retired from medical research can go to live out the remainder of their lives in conditions as close as possible to those they would have enjoyed in the wild. He also established Robinson’s Rescue, a low-cost spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats.

 

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