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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 March 2021

Edmond de Rothschild chairman dies of heart attack at 57

Benjamin de Rothschild oversaw the Franco-Swiss banking empire started by his father in 1953

Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, the chairman of the board of directors of Edmond de Rothschild Holding, the entity which oversees the Edmond de Rothschild Group, died on January 15, 2021. AFP
Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, the chairman of the board of directors of Edmond de Rothschild Holding, the entity which oversees the Edmond de Rothschild Group, died on January 15, 2021. AFP

Benjamin de Rothschild, who ran the Edmond de Rothschild banking empire and took the bank private in 2019, died at the age of 57.

De Rothschild died following a heart attack at his home in Pregny, Switzerland in the afternoon of January 15, the company said in a statement on its website.

An undated picture shows Benjamin de Rothschild at the helm of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. AFP
An undated picture shows Benjamin de Rothschild at the helm of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. AFP

De Rothschild was the chairman of Edmond de Rothschild Holding, the Swiss branch of the Rothschild banking dynasty that was created by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

Edmond launched the group in 1953, bought a Swiss private bank and branched out into the asset management business, making Rothschild one of the richest families in the world. The family has been running banking institutions in Europe for nearly 300 years.

De Rothschild inherited the business from his father in 1997 and after delisting the company, worked on simplify its operations. He took a back seat and stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the bank after his wife, Ariane de Rothschild, took over the firm as chief executive in 2015.

"He has a great distance, a completely different temper," she told the Financial Times in an earlier interview. “I admire it because I can’t. I have to be totally hands-on."

Born in July 1963, de Rothschild, was described as a "visionary entrepreneur", who was passionate about finance, speed, sailing and automobiles, according to the company statement.

Cynthia Tobiano, deputy chief executive of the company, said Edmond de Rothschild’s business would not be affected by the chairman's sudden death.

"Obviously they discussed and took long-term decisions at the family holding level with him, but at the bank level Ariane is chairing the board, and with the executive committee designing and executing the strategy," the Financial Times cited her as saying.

Ariane de Rothschild, a graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies and Pace University in New York, previously worked at Societe Generale and AIG. She is the first woman to run a Rothschild-branded financial institution.

As of the end of 2019, the group had 173 billion francs ($194bn) in assets. With operations in 15 countries, it is engaged in wealth management, corporate finance, real estate and private equity businesses among others. The company employs 2,600 people at its offices in 32 locations across the world.

De Rothschild was an active philanthropist, involved in the Adolphe de Rothschild Foundation Hospital. He is survived by his wife and their four adult daughters.

"The thoughts of the group's employees go out to his wife Ariane de Rothschild and his children, as well as to all his family and loved ones," the company said.

Updated: January 17, 2021 12:00 PM

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