Jacob Rothschild, financier from a family banking dynasty, dies at 87

Rothschild began his career in the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, in 1963, before breaking away to start businesses and charitable organizations

February 27, 2024 04:48 pm | Updated 04:48 pm IST - LONDON

Jacob Rothschild of the renowned Rothschild banking dynasty, died at 87, his family said on Feb. 26, 2024.

Jacob Rothschild of the renowned Rothschild banking dynasty, died at 87, his family said on Feb. 26, 2024. | Photo Credit: AP

Financier and philanthropist Jacob Rothschild, of the renowned Rothschild banking dynasty, has died at 87, his family said on February 26.

Rothschild began his career in the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, in 1963, before breaking away to start businesses and charitable organizations. His family paid tribute to him in a statement.

“Our father Jacob was a towering presence in many people’s lives, a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather," his family said.

“He will be buried in accordance with Jewish custom in a small family ceremony and there will be a memorial at a later date to celebrate his life," they added, without providing any more details.

The Rothschild family has an estimated fortune of about 825 million pounds ($1 billion), according to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List. It reportedly gives away millions of pounds to Jewish causes, education and art.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was among the political and cultural leaders who paid tribute to Rothschild. Mr. Blair described him as a “towering figure in Britain's Jewish community” and praised his work advancing peace in the Middle East.

Born in Berkshire, west of London, Rothschild was educated at Eton College and studied history at Christ Church College, Oxford University.

After leaving the Rothschild Bank, he took control of Rothschild Investment Trust, now RIT Capital Partners. He was chairman of the firm, one of the largest investment trusts on the London Stock Exchange, until 2019.

He also co-founded the then J. Rothschild Assurance Group, now St James’s Place, with Mark Weinberg in 1980, and served as deputy chairman at what was then BSkyB Television, among other roles.

In the cultural sector he was chairman of the board of trustees at London's National Gallery and chair of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Rothschild Foundation, the charity which manages the family's former home, the country house Waddesdon Manor, said Jacob Rothschild's daughter Hannah would succeed him as its chair.

Jacob Rothschild was married for more than 50 years to Serena, who died in 2019. They have four children, Hannah, Beth, Emily and Nat, and many grandchildren.

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