ASUTIL is mourning the loss of one its founding founders, Samuel Kauffman.

The Rio de Janeiro native, passed away Friday at the age of 80. He leaves behind his wife Patricia, as well as two sons and a daughter.

In 1994 Kauffman was among a group of Duty Free operators in South America who met in Rio de Janeiro and started the first steps to form ASUTIL (The South American Duty Free Association).

Included in that meeting were Samuel Kauffman and Santos de Araujo Fagundes representing Brasif (years later bought by Dufry), the main operator of Duty Free in Brazil.

The Mercosur was starting and the idea was to create an association to interact, support, promote and defend the industry.

In 1995 the first formal assembly was held in Buenos Aires. Kauffman served as ASUTIL President from 2003 to 2005. According to ASUTIL Secretary General José Luis Donagaray, “I would say he never missed one board meeting, at the same time he was a member of the Board of IAADFS.”

Donagaray called Kauffman “an absolutely great man, great friend.”

During the ASUTIL conference in Mexico in 2014 a formal recognition of ASUTIL founders was held, of which Kauffman attended.

“He was really satisfied that the association he founded and dreamed of in the early ‘90s,” said Donagaray.

“We all lose a friend and an excellent person who was always open for a chat and to give advice,” said Donagaray.

More condolences from industry members can be read on the TR Meeting Point page on Facebook.

A funeral was held Sunday. Condolences to the family can be sent to: Av. Lineu de Paula Machado, 851/apartment 1002, Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.