Mr. Rolf Svirsky, the first Secretary General of FCI from January 1969 until December 1971 passed away on 16 April at the age of 80. Under his leadership, Rolf helped establish the Secretariat in the Netherlands in January 1969 after FCI had been formally established the previous year during the first annual meeting held in Stockholm in November 1968. Rolf played a very important role in organizing the basic structure of FCI, with technical committees, legal rules, and the creation of a standard communication platform. A native of Sweden, Rolf was employed by Svenska Finans AB in Stockholm, one of six founding members of the chain. As you know, FCI got its initial start in 1964, thanks to the vision of Mr. Claes-Olof Livijn, President of Svenska Finans A.B. under the informal heading Factors Chain”. Five years later, Claes-Olof would go on to tap Rolf as the first Secretary General, to help formally establish “Factors Chain International” in the Netherlands, on loan from Svenska Finans. Rolf would eventually relocate to Amsterdam to help establish the FCI Secretariat in January 1969.
Sandra Gerlach, who was hired by Rolf in April 1969 as his assistant and went on to serve in this role for 35 years, stated “On the 1st April 1969, FCI had its official opening of the Secretariat in the city center of Amsterdam. Rolf was very driven, enthusiastic and sharing. Rolf had a marvellous sense of humour and it was a real pleasure to work with him.”
According to Jeroen Kohnstamm, Rolf’s successor who joined the association as the second Secretary General, stated “When I joined FCI in October 1972, I soon discovered that Rolf Svirsky and Sandra Gerlach had developed a particularly good infrastructure for the new FCI association. The registration under Dutch association law had been done in record time, three technical committees had been established to deal with ‘communication’, ‘marketing’ and ‘legal affairs’, the committees had been made responsible for supporting the Secretariat with the organization of quarterly seminars, and an excellent framework for Annual Meetings had been developed. Rolf ‘s vision that ‘communication’ was essential for turning a relatively loose association into a true ‘network’, resulting in a series of standardized forms and reports, which facilitated a successful start for the two-factor business.
”The FCI Chairman, Patrick de Villepin stated “Rolf’s leadership at a time when FCI was just taking its first initial steps left an important historical legacy towards the birth of FCI and factoring around the world. We want to thank Rolf and his family for his many contributions, especially during those crucial early days and for his professionalism and dedication to the growth of our industry.
”After leaving FCI, Rolf continued his career as a successful and prominent management consultant in his native Sweden. Rolf is survived by his wife Hedy, children Liv and Pia, as well as partners and grandchildren, Noah, Klas, Theo and Lea. Due to the COVID-19 virus, a funeral was organized last month together with his family. “