Michel David-Weill

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Michel David-Weill
Born (1932-11-23) November 23, 1932 (age 82)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Ethnicity Jewish
Education Lycée Français de New York
l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris
Occupation Banker
Known for Chairman of the New York City-based Lazard Frères.
Spouse(s) Hélène Marie Lehideux
Children Béatrice Stern
Cécile Renom de La Baume
Nathalie Merveilleux du Vignaux
Parent(s) Berthe Haardt David-Weill
Pierre David-Weill
Family David David-Weill (grandfather)

Michel David-Weill (born November 23, 1932) is an investment banker and former Chairman of New York City-based Lazard Frères.

Early life[edit]

Michel David-Weill was born on November 23, 1932. His father, Pierre David-Weill (1900–1975), was the Chairman of Lazard Frères; his mother was Berthe Haardt. His parents were Jewish.

His great-grandfather, Alexander Weill, worked as a bookkeeper at Lazard Freres, a firm co-founded by his cousins, Alexandre, Elie, and Simon Lazard.[1] In 1900, his grandfather, David David-Weill was named a partner.[1] In 1927, his father Pierre David-Weill became a partner.[1] Separated from his father who was in New York City during World War II, David-Weill remained behind with his mother in occupied France and During the last year of Nazi occupation, at age 11, he had to hide with his mother and younger sister, in a French village called Béduer (Lot, south-western France)[1] where they were baptized and raised as Catholics (his father Pierre would convert to catholicism in 1965).[2] After World War II was over, he went to live in New York City with his family.[3]

David-Weill was educated at the Lycée Français de New York and l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.[4]


In 1956, he joined Lazard Freres and in 1961, he became a partner[1] Under the stewardship of chairman André Meyer, Felix Rohatyn, who handled acquisitions, and himself, who handled the books, Lazard grew rapidly. In 1975, his father died and he inherited his equity stake in Lazard, becoming the largest stake holder in both Lazard New York and Lazard Paris, while also holding stakes in Lazard London.[citation needed] In 1977, when Meyer became sick and Rohatyn turned down an offer to replace him, David-Weill was named chairman.[1] He continued to work closely with managing director, Felix Rohatyn, who was also made senior partner at Lazard in 1961.[5] Also, by the power provided in clause 4.1 of Lazard partnership agreement, he alone had the power to set compensations and had the right to fire any partners at his discretion.

Under David-Weill's direction, Lazard began to expand its business from traditional M&A advising to areas such as asset management and municipal bond. He also made numerous hires, including Steven Rattner. Lazard's profits also jumped from $5 million in the late 70s to $500 million in the late 90s. David-Weill also re-united the branches of Lazard by combining his stakes in New York and Paris and buyout Pearson for its stake in Lazard London for more than $600 million. After the retirement of Rohatyn, the firm's most prominent deal maker, however, Lazard under David-Weill's leadership began to take a turn for the worse. Other deal makers such as J. Ira Harris and Rattner also left the firm.

In order to resurrect his fortune, David-Weill made the fateful choice of hiring Bruce Wasserstein as CEO. Wasserstein, however, later decided to put Lazard up for IPO, against the wish of the family patriarch. For that reason, David-Weill has stated that he regretted ever having hired Wasserstein.[citation needed] David-Weill is currently a director of Groupe Danone, one of the world's largest food-product companies.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 1956, he married Hélène Marie Lehideux, daughter of Robert Lehideux, brand president at Renault. They have three children: Béatrice, married to Édouard Stern; Cécile, married to Emmanuel Renom de La Baume; and Nathalie, married to Olivier Merveilleux du Vignaux (see entry on French Wikipedia Famille David-Weill)

He was honored by the government of France, made a Commander of the Legion of Honor and Commander of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, that nation's highest cultural honor.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Fortune Magazine: "Assault On The House Of Lazard" by Robert Lenzner September 4, 2000
  2. ^ Cohen, William D. (2007). The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 52-53. ISBN 978-0385521772. 
  3. ^ Danzgier, Danny (2007). Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Penguin. p. 61. ISBN 9780143114260. 
  4. ^ a b c Academie de Beaux Artes: "Michel DAVID-WEILL retrieved October 3, 2015
  5. ^ Teitelman, Robert (2001). "Michel David-Weill". In Ellis, Charles D.; Vertin, James R. Wall Street People: True Stories of Today's Masters and Moguls. New York: Wiley & Sons. p. 281. ISBN 0471221066.