Henri A. Termeer, former Chairman, President and CEO of Genzyme Corporation for nearly three decades, died suddenly on Friday night, May 12, 2017. He was 71 years old.

Henri believed you could change the world and he did so for many people suffering from devastating diseases. He often said that if we can create medicines to help people, it is our responsibility to do so no matter how complex or difficult the task. Under his leadership, he fulfilled this mission and in doing so grew Genzyme from a modest entrepreneurial venture to one of the world's leading biotechnology companies and a pioneer of some of the first treatments for rare genetic diseases. He is regarded widely as one of the founders of Boston's biotech industry.

Henri was a charismatic visionary with strong humanity and humility. His warmth, humor and optimistic nature could successfully inspire and bring people together. He took the time to talk to patients and their families to understand their needs and challenges, then was a passionate champion of finding medical solutions to help them. Many patients took the time to tell him how grateful they were for all he did to give them a chance to live a better life. In return, he told them how brave and courageous they were, inspiring him and Genzyme employees to work harder and creating a workplace that was centered around patients.

Henri was generous in his support of many colleagues and employees as a mentor and inspiration. He built a strong entrepreneurial culture based on science, innovation on behalf of the patients, and respect for individuals.

Henri was both forward-thinking and reflective. He delighted in telling the many stories of Genzyme – both successes and failures. He was especially proud of the risks taken on behalf of patients and families in the early days of Genzyme. He stayed active in biotech after leaving Genzyme and never lost his love of launching and building companies.

Widely acknowledged for his contributions to the biotechnology industry and health care field, Henri continued to support the next generation of biotech companies and health care leaders. He was generous with his time and sought after for his advice. Scores of biotech leaders consider him their mentor. Henri served on many boards of early-stage biotech companies. His intellect was also sought in the non profit world where he served as a board member of Massachusetts General Hospital, Partners Health Care, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Project HOPE, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PHRMA). He was a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 2007-2011 and the chairman from 2010-2011. Henri was a long-time supporter of the Biomedical Science Careers Program, which provides minority students with the support and guidance needed for successful careers in biomedical science.

More important to him than all his achievements in industry, were his family. He was a loving and devoted husband and proud father. Henri is survived by his beloved wife, Belinda and their daughter, Adriana, and his son Nicholas and wife Sophie. He was one of 6 children, and was strongly influenced by his compassionate mother. He is also survived by two sisters, Ineke and her husband Jan Wim Taminiau of France; and Marlies Verduijn of the Netherlands; and three brothers, Bert and his wife Els, Paul and his wife Mill, and Roel and wife Karen, all of the Netherlands. He was a beloved uncle to many nieces and nephews and brother-in-law to Belinda's sisters and brothers.

Henri's greatest love in life was for his wife and children. Watching his daughter perform ballet brought him so much joy. He was so proud of the beautiful young woman his daughter Adriana was becoming. Henri relished their deep conversations on world issues and politics and was thrilled when she joined her high school debate team. He took great pride in attending his son Nicholas' college graduation and wedding to Sophie and was so pleased when she became pregnant with twins. Only on Friday, did he learn he would be 'opa' (grandpa) to twin girls.

Henri's passions often involved the ocean – spending time with his family at their home in Maine and sailing on his boat, Tijuba. Family travel adventures took the Termeers to the far corners of the world and on regular trips to Europe to visit family and friends. He was a voracious reader and his library reflected his interest in business and politics.

Belinda and Henri Termeer are recognized throughout greater Boston for their generosity and involvement, together and as individuals, with concerns ranging from the arts, science, health care, education, equal opportunity and human rights. They were active supporters and Board members of WGBH, the Boston Museum of Science, and Boston Ballet.

Henri was born in Tilburg, The Netherlands on February 28, 1946. He studied economics at the Economische Hogeschool (Erasmus University, The Netherlands) and earned an MBA from the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia. Following a 10-year career with Baxter Travenol (now Baxter International), he was appointed president of Genzyme in 1983, two years after the company's founding. He became its chief executive officer in 1985 and chairman in 1988. He retired from Genzyme in June 2011 following the acquisition of Genzyme by Sanofi in a transaction valued at more than $20 billion.

Henri impacted thousands of people and he succeeded in his mission of leaving this world a better place.

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