Michel David-Weill

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Michel David-Weill
Born (1932-11-23) November 23, 1932 (age 88)
EducationLycée Français de New York
Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris
Known forChairman of the New York City-based Lazard Frères.
Spouse(s)Hélène Marie Lehideux
ChildrenBéatrice Stern
Cécile Renom de La Baume
Nathalie Merveilleux du Vignaux
Parent(s)Berthe Haardt David-Weill
Pierre David-Weill
FamilyDavid David-Weill (grandfather)
Édouard Stern (son-in-law)

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 into a Jewish family on November 23, 1932. His father, Pierre David-Weill (1900–1975), was the chairman of Lazard Frères; his mother was Berthe Haardt. His great-grandfather, Alexandre Weill [fr], worked 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 hid with his mother and younger sister in the French village of Béduer (Lot, southwestern France)[1] where they were baptized and raised as Catholics (his father Pierre would later 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 the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.[4]


In 1956, he joined Lazard Freres, and, in 1961, became a partner[1] Under the stewardship of the chairman of André Meyer, Felix Rohatyn, who handled acquisitions, and he himself, who was the bookkeeper, Lazard grew rapidly. In 1975, his father died and he inherited his equity stake in Lazard, becoming the largest stakeholder 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 the Lazard partnership agreement, he alone had the power to set compensations and the right to fire any partners at his discretion.

Under David-Weill's direction, Lazard began to expand its business from traditional merger-and-acquisition 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 1970s to $500 million in the late 1990s. David-Weill also reunited the branches of Lazard by combining his stakes in New York and Paris and a buyout of Pearson for its stake in Lazard London for more than $600 million. After the retirement of Rohatyn, the firm's most prominent dealmaker, Lazard under David-Weill's leadership began to take a turn for the worse. Other dealmakers such as J. Ira Harris and Rattner also left the firm.

To strengthen Lazard, David-Weill hired Bruce Wasserstein as the CEO, who later decided to take Lazard public against the wishes of the family patriarch. David-Weill later stated that he regretted ever having hired Wasserstein.[6] 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. They have three children: Béatrice, married first to Bertrand de Villeneuve Bargemont and then to Édouard Stern; Cécile, married to Emmanuel Renom de La Baume; and Nathalie, married to Olivier Merveilleux du Vignaux. (See the entry in French Wikipedia, Famille David-Weill.)

He was honored by the government of France, made a Commander of the Legion of Honor and a Commander of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the 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. pp. 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 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine retrieved October 3, 2015
  5. ^ Teitelman, Robert (2001). "Michel David-Weill". In Ellis, Charles D.; Vertin, James R. (eds.). Wall Street People: True Stories of Today's Masters and Moguls. New York: Wiley & Sons. p. 281. ISBN 0471221066.
  6. ^ Lazard's David-Weill Wants Wasserstein To Quit if IPO Fails