The Wallenberg family (known as The Wallenbergs or simply Wallenbergs) is a prominent Swedish banking family, renowned as bankers, industrialists, politicians, diplomats and philanthropists. The most famous of the Wallenbergs, Raoul Wallenberg, a diplomat, worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. Between July and December 1944, he issued protective passports and housed Jews, saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives. The Wallenberg sphere, an international banking- and industry group under the control of Wallenberg family through the holding company Investor AB, based in Stockholm, Sweden, is today Europe's largest family-controlled business empire. In Sweden alone, the sphere was estimated to indirectly control about a third of the national GDP in 1990.
The oldest known member of the Wallenberg family is Per Hansson (1670–1741) who, in 1692, married Kerstin Jacobsdotter Schuut (1671–1752). Their son, Jakob Persson Wallberg (1699–1758) married twice. The children of his first marriage called themselves Wallberg and those of his second called themselves Wallenberg. Jakob Persson Wallberg was the great-grandfather of André Oscar Wallenberg who, in 1856, founded Stockholms Enskilda Bank, the predecessor of today's Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken.
André Oscar Wallenberg's son Knut Agathon Wallenberg took over as CEO of Stockholms Enskilda Bank in 1886. Like many other Wallenberg relatives, Knut Agathon Wallenberg was also involved in Swedish politics and diplomacy becoming Minister for Foreign Affairs 1914–1917, and member of the Riksdags first chamber (Parliament of Sweden) 1907–1919. In 1916, a new legislation made it more difficult for banks to own shares in industrial companies on a long-term basis. Investor was formed as an investment part of Stockholms Enskilda Bank.
Knut Agathon Wallenberg's younger brother Marcus Wallenberg (senior) carried on the tradition and took over as the bank's CEO in 1911, replacing his older brother who was appointed Stockholms Enskilda Bank chairman of the board.
Jacob Wallenberg, eldest son of Marcus Wallenberg (senior), became the bank's CEO after Joseph Nachmanson died in 1927, joined by younger brother Marcus Wallenberg (junior) as the bank's deputy CEO. In 1938, Knut Agathon Wallenberg died (Knut Agathon Wallenberg had died childless). Marcus Wallenberg (senior) was appointed Stockholms Enskilda Bank chairman of the board.
The fourth generation of Wallenbergs joined the family business in 1953, including heir apparent Marc Wallenberg, eldest son of Marcus Wallenberg (junior), who became a deputy CEO at Stockholms Enskilda Bank in 1953, before taking over as CEO in 1958. After a power struggle between Jacob Wallenberg and his younger brother Marcus Wallenberg (junior), Jacob Wallenberg resigned from the board of directors in 1969.
The resignation opened a seat on the bank's board of directors to Peter Wallenberg (senior), younger son of Marcus Wallenberg (junior). Marcus Wallenberg (junior) pushed through a merger agreement between Stockholms Enskilda Bank and rival Skandinaviska Banken in 1971. Soon after, tragedy struck when Marc Wallenberg committed suicide. Observers suggested that the act came possibly because Marc Wallenberg felt himself inadequate to the task of leading what was to become the Scandinavian banking giant Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. The merger went through in 1972.
Marcus Wallenberg (junior), and younger son Peter Wallenberg (senior), focused their interests on the family's investment companies, Investor and Providentia. Investor now became the family's new flagship business, and, under Marcus Wallenberg (juniors) leadership began actively promoting the restructuring of most of the industrial companies under its control, replacing board members and promoting younger CEO and other management.
Peter Wallenberg (senior) took over after Marcus Wallenberg (junior's) death in 1982. For many outsiders, the change in leadership marked a final moment in the family's more than 100-year dominance of the Swedish banking and industrial sectors. Yet Peter Wallenberg (senior) rose to the challenge, guiding Investor and Sweden's industry into a new era. In 1990, it was estimated that the family indirectly controlled one-third of the Swedish Gross National Product. Peter Wallenberg (senior) stepped down from leadership of Investor in 1997.
The Wallenberg family has occasionally been criticized for its nepotism, notably when it was disclosed that Peter Wallenberg (senior) was given a retirement salary of 16 MSEK (EUR 1,6 million) per year from Ericsson, in spite of never having been employed by the company.
Notable family members
- Jacob Wallenberg (1746–1778), sailor, clergyman and author.
- Marcus Wallenberg (1774–1833), nephew of Jacob Wallenberg, bishop in Linköping.
- André Oscar Wallenberg (1816–1886), son of Marcus Wallenberg, naval officer, newspaper tycoon, banker and politician.
- Knut Agathon Wallenberg (1853–1938), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, banker and politician.
- Gustaf Wallenberg (1863–1937), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, diplomat.
- Marcus Wallenberg (senior) ("Häradshövdingen") (1864–1943), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, banker, industrialist and politician.
- Oscar Wallenberg (1872–1939), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, naval officer and businessman.
- Axel Wallenberg (1874–1963), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, industrialist and diplomat.
- Victor Wallenberg (1875–1970), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, sports shooter.
- Raoul Oscar Wallenberg (1888–1912), son of Gustaf Wallenberg, naval officer.
- Jacob Wallenberg ("Juju") (1892–1980), son of Marcus Wallenberg (senior), naval officer, banker, industrialist.
- Marcus Wallenberg (junior) ("Dodde") (1899–1982), son of Marcus Wallenberg (senior), banker and industrialist.
- Carol Wallenberg (1904–1985), son of Oscar Wallenberg, businessman.
- Gustaf Wally (1905–1966), son of Axel Wallenberg, dancer, actor and theatre manager.
- Henry Wallenberg (1908–1993), son of Victor Wallenberg, consul general in Monaco.
- Raoul Wallenberg (1912–c.1947), son of Raoul Oscar Wallenberg, diplomat.
- Marc Wallenberg ("Boy-Boy") (1924–1971), son of Marcus Wallenberg (junior), banker.
- Peter Wallenberg (senior) ("Pirre") (1926–), son of Marcus Wallenberg (junior), banker and industrialist. Current patriarch of the Wallenberg family.
- Peder Sager Wallenberg (1935–), son of Jacob Wallenberg, architect, businessman.
- Jacob Wallenberg (1956–), son of Peter Wallenberg (senior), banker and industrialist.
- Marcus Wallenberg ("Husky") (1956–), son of Marc Wallenberg, banker and industrialist.
- Axel Wallenberg ("Wawa") (1958–2011), son of Marc Wallenberg, businessman.
- Peter Wallenberg (junior) ("Poker") (1959–), son of Peter Wallenberg (senior), businessman.
The Wallenbergs have a very low-key public profile, eschewing conspicuous displays of wealth. The family motto is "Esse non Videri" (Latin for "To be, not to be seen"). Wallenbergs business empire is often referred to as the Wallenberg sphere, the Wallenberg sphere is a large group of companies where their investment company Investor or foundation asset management company FAM have the controlling interest.
- "Yad Vashem database". Yad Vashem. Archived from the original on 7 February 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2007. "who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during World War II ... and put some 15,000 Jews into 32 safe houses."
- Keeping it in the family
- The Swedish family calendar 1989, red. Elisabeth Thorsell, Almqvist & Wiksell Internationell, Stockholm 1989 ISBN 91-22-01318-0 s.360
- http://www.faqs.org/abstracts/Business-international/Keeping-it-in-the-family-Flight-from-the-north.html based on an article in Reed Business Information's International Management
- http://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/12/business/in-sweden-a-shy-dynasty-steps-out.html?pagewanted=3 based on an article in The New York times
- Wallenberg Family Tree on Kindo
- The Local – Introducing the Wallenbergs (humorous profile in English)
- Investor AB and Wallenberg family history