Businessman Ülo Pärnits dies at 80
Well-known Estonian businessman and public figure Ülo Pärnits died on Wednesday following a serious illness.
Pärnits, a doctor of economics who had just celebrated his 80th birthday this summmer, was chairman of the board and majority owner of Mainor Group. He had worked for Mainor since 1972 and was known as the founder and director of Estonia's first holding company from 1979 through today.
Pärnits, who was awarded Estonia's Order of the White Star, 4th Class, remained actively involved in promoting Estonian life up until his death. Pärnits was one of the creators of the Republic of Estonia's economic legislation, business developer and a prominent designer of the local economic landscape.
Following the restoration of Estonia's independence in 1991, Pärnits was one of the founders and chairman of the economic advisory board of the Estonian Coalition Party. He also helped to develop and, as rector in later years, direct Mainor Business School, which served as a hotbed for senior executives in Estonia during the 1980s and 90s. In 2010, Pärnits also won the Ernst & Young Lifetime Achievement Award.
During the past decade, the most visible aspect of Pärnits's work has been the development of Tallinn's Ülemiste City, the largest business campus in the Baltics, where 8,000 people work daily; the total annual turover of businesses operating there has already reached one billion euros.
Pärnits was also one of the founders of business newspaper Äripäev, together with Swedish media group Bonnier in 1989. The Estonian businessman sold his stake in the paper in 1997, using the millions earned from the sale to privatize Dvigatel, the site of a factory built at the end of the 19th century, thus laying the foundation for the establishment of Ülemiste City.
Ülo Pärnits is survived by a son, a daughter and their families.