Born in France in 1963, Benjamin Rothschild was part of the eponymous French-British dynasty which traces its wealthy roots back to the 18th century. He died at 57 on Friday afternoon in Pregny, Switzerland of a heart attack, according to a spokesman for the bank.
Benjamin Rothschild, chaired Edmond de Rothschild, is survived by his wife, Ariane Rothschild, who runs the 173 billion Swiss francs ($195 billion) Genevan wealth manager, and four children, as well as his mother, Nadine de Rothschild.
A graduate of Pepperdine University in California, Benjamin Rothschild took over at Edmond de Rothschild in 1997, the year his father died. His father, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, was a prominent French financier who founded the eponymous bank in Geneva in 1953.
Benjamin was an adrenaline junkie who reportedly loved racing motorcycles and driving Formula 1 Ferraris. The adventure-seeking personality carried over to the bank, which sponsors an 32-meter trimaran which competes in a storied yacht race circumnavigating the globe.
This branch of the French blue-blooded family ended up in Switzerland after Benjamin’s grandfather was declared a «noncitizen» for opposing the post-Nazi Vichy regime during World War II. Benjamin installed Ariane Rothschild as the first female CEO in the family in 2015 – and the two led the going-private of the Swiss bank two years ago.
Like most Swiss wealth managers, Edmond de Rothschild struggled to carve out a new identity following the end of banking secrecy. Though related to the family which controls the other Swiss private bank – Rothschild & Co – the two firms went separate ways, recently burying a long-simmering spat between cousins over the family name.