Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild

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Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild
Edmond de Rothschild (1961).jpg
Edmond de Rothschild (1961)
Born (1926-09-30)September 30, 1926
Paris, France
Died November 2, 1997(1997-11-02) (aged 71)
Geneva, Switzerland
Resting place Château Clarke
Residence Château de Pregny
Education Geneva University
Occupation Financier, Philanthropist
Spouse(s) Veselinka Vladova Gueorguieva (m. 1958–60)
Nadine Nelly Jeannette L'Hopitalier (m. 1963)
Children Benjamin de Rothschild (b. 1963)
Parent(s) Maurice de Rothschild and Noémie Halphen Rothschild

Edmond Adolphe Maurice Jules Jacques de Rothschild, usually known as Baron Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild (September 30, 1926 – November 2, 1997) was born in Paris, France and died in Geneva, Switzerland. He was a Swiss member of the Rothschild family.[1] He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

His parents were Baron Maurice de Rothschild and Swiss Baroness Noémie Halphen, who divorced while he was a child. His mother was the granddaughter of financier Eugène Péreire of the Sephardic Jewish Péreire family of Portugal who were also banking and railroad rivals of the Rothschilds. His paternal grandfather was Baron Edmond de Rothschild. His cousins were Élie de Rothschild, Guy de Rothschild and Alain de Rothschild. In 1940 he was taken as a child by his mother to their family home, Château de Pregny in Pregny-Chambésy, in neutral Switzerland after his father, a senator in France, had refused to vote for the pro-Nazi Vichy regime led by Marshal Philippe Pétain in World War II and had been declared a noncitizen.[1][3] As wealthy Jewish refugees, the reaction by the locals in Switzerland was so hostile that Edmond could not go to the local school but instead attended an international school in Geneva.[3]

His father returned to Pregny after the Second World War having inherited three separate fortunes from the heads of the Naples, Frankfurt and Paris branches of the family bank.[3] His father died in 1957 leaving his son about a billion francs (about $200 million USD).[1]

In 1958 he married Bulgarian Veselinka Vladova Gueorguieva but they separated after two years; the marriage was later dissolved.[3] In 1963, he married Nadine Nelly Jeannette L'Hopitalier, a French actress of working-class background. She was Roman Catholic, but converted to Judaism. She later stated: "It would not have been possible to have the name Rothschild and be a Catholic...Nor would it be right for the son of a Rothschild to be half-Jewish and half-Catholic." They had one son, Benjamin de Rothschild, shortly after their marriage.[3][4]

Business[edit]

Banking[edit]

After finishing his education at University of Geneva[5] and a law degree in Paris, he went in 1950 to work at the de Rothschild Frères bank, the primary operating entity of the French branch of the Rothschild family and founded by his great-grandfather James Mayer de Rothschild. In 1953, he left the bank and founded his own investment bank, La Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild. Because he concentrated his business activity in Switzerland and was rarely part of the extravagant social life his cousins Elie, Guy and Alain led in Paris, his bank avoided nationalization when the Socialists led by François Mitterrand came to power in France in 1980. The de Rothschild Frères bank was not as fortunate and was nationalized in 1982. Ironically, La Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild eventually became known for its expertise in helping the Government divest itself of nationalized businesses.[1][3]

In the 1960s, he purchased the wealth management bank Banque Privée renaming it Banque privée Edmond de Rothschild S.A. in Geneva. In 1973, he made a substantial investment in the Bank of California and later sold his interest in 1984 at a considerable profit just before it was sold to Mitsubishi Bank in 1985. Other interests included the Banca Privata Solari & Blum in Lugano, Switzerland, the Israel General Bank and the Caesarea Development Company in Tel Aviv, the Israel European Company and the Banque de Gestion Edmond de Rothschild, both in Luxembourg, along with interests in Alpine hotels, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. in South Africa, Club Mediterranee, several publishing houses in Paris and a television company in Luxembourg.[1][3]

The principal holding company of the financial group established by Edmond de Rothschild is legally named LCF Holding Benjamin and Edmond de Rothschild S.A. and is based in Geneva Switzerland. It owns 77% of the Banque privée Edmond de Rothschild, head holding company of the Swiss group (the remaining shares are listed on the Swiss Stock Market); and 97% of the Compagnie Financière Saint-Honoré, head holding of the French group, which owns the Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild. Edmund's only child, Benjamin de Rothschild became chairman of the group upon his father's death in 1997.

Wine[edit]

He was an investor in Domaines Barons Rothschild, which owns Château Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Rieussec in Bordeaux, as well as parts of wine properties in Portugal, Chile and California. In the 1970s, he purchased Château Clarke which—despite substantial investment—never produced a wine classified as outstanding, although it eventually produced a kosher wine which was sold at a considerable profit in Brooklyn, New York amongst the Hasidic community with his wife Nadine acting as saleswoman.[3] He also owned Savour Club, the biggest mail-order wine business in France, and Château Malmaison which he gave to his wife.[1]

Israel[edit]

In the 1880s his grandfather Edmond had been responsible for supporting massive land purchases and underwriting the very first Jewish settlements in what was then Palestine and despite his refusal to back the pioneers of Zionism he was widely praised by Zionist leaders.[6] Although Edmond had not been brought up in a religious environment, he became a passionate Zionist when young and his frequent trips to Israel raised family concerns that he might create problems due to his youthful enthusiasm. After the death of his uncle James Armand de Rothschild in 1957, he was left as the only direct male descendant of his grandfather and carried on his grandfather's enthusiastic support for Israel. Following the advice of Israel's first prime minister, David ben-Gurion, Edmond concentrated on providing capital to create jobs in the infant state—a policy which brought him into conflict with his Uncle's widow, his aunt Dorothy de Rothschild, who preferred philanthropy as a policy.[3]

Quotes[edit]

In an interview in a French business magazine, he said that of all the countries in the world where he did business, the United States appealed to him most: "For me it symbolizes free enterprise, where a man is responsible only to himself, a place of endless opportunity and limitless space." Then he added, "I am fundamentally a citizen of the world, devoted to France, where I was born, to Switzerland, where I was made welcome, and to Israel because I am a Jew."[1]

Awards[edit]

He was named Commander, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1990 and was decorated with the Legion of Honour in 1994.[5]

Death[edit]

Edmond died of emphysema in 1997. He was buried on the grounds of Chateau Clarke.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Prial, Frank J. (November 4, 1997). "Baron Edmond de Rothschild, 71, French Financier, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  2. ^ "Former Steering Committee Members". bilderbergmeetings.org. Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Faith, Nicholas (4 November 1997). "Obituary: Baron Edmond de Rothschild". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  4. ^ New York Times: "Wine Talk; Another Rothschild Stands Behind a Bordeaux" October 1, 1997
  5. ^ a b "The Peerage: Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild". Thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  6. ^ The Jewish Virtual Library: Baron Edmond James de Rothschild retrieved March 25, 2012