– Homage to François Carrard, “universal advocate”
Figure of world sport, the former IOC director passed away on Sunday. The lawyers who were his friends and associates are back on an extraordinary trajectory.
François Carrard has passed away Last Sunday at the age of 83, Director General of the IOC between 1989 and 2003, the Lausanne native had been one of the figures of the international sporting world in recent decades. The lawyers Jean-Philippe Rochat, Nicolas Gillard and Edgar Philippin, who were his associates and his friends within the Kellerhals-Carrard law firm, pay tribute to this atypical and influential lawyer:
Her face expressed plump self-assurance and natural authority. He was known mainly for the positions held at the IOC and with international sports federations, a reputation as shown by the tributes paid in the press around the world. And this role of great organizer of world sport suited him like a glove.
With Jean-Pascal Delamuraz
However, it was at the Vaud bar and with French-speaking companies that François Carrard first and foremost made his way. Although coming from a line of radical lawyers, he very quickly showed a certain potential for state functions. While his friend and fellow student Jean-Pascal Delamuraz suggested that he get into politics with him, he replied: “You will want to be a federal councilor, and I will want to be one too. We would be in competition and I will therefore become a lawyer… ”
“The man is insatiable curiosity: he is fluent in six or seven languages and expresses himself easily on the piano, as during this improvised concert on a Japanese channel on the occasion of the Nagano Olympic Games.”
Since obtaining his patent in 1966, François Carrard will never leave the bar, while reaching the highest responsibilities in a wide variety of fields. Because the man is of an insatiable curiosity: he speaks six or seven languages fluently and expresses himself easily on the piano, as during this improvised concert on a Japanese television channel on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Nagano. His passion for jazz and bossa-nova, among others, led him to chair the founding of the Montreux Jazz Festival for twenty-five years.
The man of all trades
An indefatigable traveler (he prided himself on knowing all the capitals of the world), François Carrard made countless knowledge around the planet and developed his sensitivity to different cultures. At the same time, he becomes the man of all trades: lawyer, spokesperson, business manager, director of companies in the field of finance and insurance (François Carrard sits for example on the board of directors of Vaudoise from 1983 to 2009, including fourteen years as president), in that of the hotel industry (as president of the Beau-Rivage Palace for more than thirty years), of publishing (the Presses Centrales, at a time of transition delicate), industry (in particular with Câbleries de Cortaillod and Swissmetal, where its talents for crisis management will be put to the test).
His career has gradually earned him a reputation as a strategist, capable of resolving the most complex situations and disputes with elegance, creativity and sense of formula. And it is sometimes from afar, until very recently, that we come to Lausanne to collect the opinion of a “wise man”, as the international press presents it.
Nelson Mandela and the winegrowers
The courteous character of her authority does not, however, exclude anger, rare but memorable: this was the case when a collaborator informed her that she had blocked the insistent calls from an intruder, who was in reality none other than the vice-president of the United States … François Carrard also rubs shoulders with major personalities of his century: generations of presidents, ministers or famous musicians, the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela, whom he receives in his village of Cully, before sitting down a few hours later with the local winegrowers.
At the end of a busy life, François Carrard left in Lausanne and the canton of Vaud major achievements, in particular the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a significant contribution to the anchoring of many sports institutions in our region, a study having taken national and international in scope. He brilliantly illustrated a world before specialization, that of the universal advocate.
Gregory Wicky has been a 24-hour journalist since 2004. After having been responsible for editing the websites and that of the Saturday magazine, he is currently head of the Vaud section since 2018.
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