A.P. Møller (1876–1965) and his father Captain Peter Mærsk Møller founded what would become the Maersk Group in 1904. Prior to settling in Copenhagen that year, A.P. Møller had worked in Denmark, England, Germany and Russia.
Initially, the family business was mainly concerned with shipping. Mr Møller founded Maersk Line in 1928 and acquired the company’s first five tankers that same year. He also oversaw the company’s expansion abroad, starting in the United States in 1919, and continuing with the establishment of offices in Japan, the UK, Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
To enhance the company’s portfolio, Mr Møller established a number of other businesses in the shipbuilding, agriculture and retail sectors. In 1962 he was awarded a concession to explore for and extract raw materials beneath Danish-controlled waters – an activity that eventually led to the formation of today’s Maersk Oil.
A.P. Møller secured his family’s continued ownership of the company he built when he established the foundations that now control the majority of shares in the Maersk Group. When Mr Møller passed away in 1965, his son Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller assumed chairmanship of the family’s foundations.