Benjamin de Rothschild, death of an heir

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Baron Benjamin de Rothschild died suddenly in Switzerland at the age of 57.

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Baron Benjamin de Rothschild died suddenly in Switzerland at the age of 57.

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Baron Benjamin de Rothschild died suddenly in Switzerland at the age of 57.

His last public appearance, in Paris, was in September 2017, during a breathtaking ball organized by his wife, Ariane, at the Palais de Tokyo. All the guests had left with a piece of brie with truffles, from the family production. Last week, from his Swiss home, Baron Benjamin de Rothschild wished good luck by video to the skippers of the maxi-trimaran Edmond de Rothschild, a bolide of the seas entered in the Jules Verne Trophy.

This offshore racing team he had founded was one of the last passions of the banker, who died of a heart attack on Friday at his Swiss home in Pregny, facing Lake Geneva. All his life, he had collected the pleasures of billionaires: vineyards, hunting in Africa, Formula 1.

“A Ferrari in a traffic jam”

Benjamin de Rothschild, son of Edmond and Nadine de Rothschild, was 57 years old. The sole heir to the private bank and asset management company created by his father Edmond in 1953, he took over the helm when the latter died in 1997. His legitimacy had never been questioned. Faithful to the family doctrine, he had continued to develop the group which today manages 160 billion euros in assets and has 2,600 employees. His wife, Ariane, who joined the group’s board in 2012, took over and provided executive management until 2019.

Benjamin’s personal fortune had nearly doubled in less than twenty-five years to reach 4 billion euros, making him the richest Rothschild of the dynasty and the 22nd French fortune. “He was a very singular type, of extraordinary intellectual brilliance, of crazy kindness and class”, remembers the banker Michel Cicurel, who will spend thirteen years at his side at the helm of the Edmond group. de Rothschild. Raised to be a banker, he will not be passionate about the world of finance, in which he will leave the image of a man as pleasant as he is quirky. “It was a Ferrari in a traffic jam”, summarizes Michel Cicurel.

His mother, Nadine, who now lives in Switzerland, will have boundless veneration for her only son. The young actress, from a modest background, had met Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1960. She married him, pregnant, just after he divorced his first wife, a Bulgarian artist. The baroness will share the love of wine with her son. Owner of 16% of Château Lafite-Rothschild, the baron had personally invested in seven wine estates, in Argentina, New Zealand and, more recently, in Spain, the jewels of the Edmond de Rothschild group. An inheritance he leaves to his wife and four daughters.

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