Jacob Rothschild, financier and philanthropist of the famous banking family, dies at the age of 87

LONDON – Financier and philanthropist Jacob Rothschild, of the famed Rothschild banking dynasty, has died at the age of 87, his family said Monday.

Rothschild began his career at the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, in 1963, before breaking away to start companies and charities. His family paid tribute to him in a statement.

“Our father Jacob was a towering presence in the lives of many people, an outstanding financier, a champion of arts and culture, a dedicated public servant, a passionate supporter of causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist, and a much-loved friend, father and grandfather,” his family said.

“He will be buried in a small family ceremony according to Jewish custom and a memorial service will take place at a later date to celebrate his life,” they added, without providing further details.

According to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, the Rothschild family has an estimated fortune of around 825 million pounds ($1 billion). It reportedly gives away millions of pounds to Jewish causes, education, and the arts.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was among the political and cultural leaders who paid tribute to Rothschild. Blair described him as a “towering figure in the British Jewish community” and praised his work promoting peace in the Middle East.

Born in Berkshire, west of London, Rothschild was educated at Eton College and studied history at Christ Church College, Oxford University.

After leaving Rothschild Bank, he took control of Rothschild Investment Trust, now RIT Capital Partners. Until 2019, he was chairman of the firm, one of the largest investment funds on the London Stock Exchange.

He also co-founded the then J Rothschild Assurance Group, now St James’s Place, with Mark Weinberg in 1980, including stints as deputy chairman at what was then BSkyB Television.

In the cultural sector, he was chairman of the board of trustees of the National Gallery in London and chairman of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Rothschild Foundation, the charity that manages the family’s former home, the Waddesdon Manor mansion, said Jacob Rothschild’s daughter Hannah would succeed him as chairman.

Jacob Rothschild was married to Serena for more than 50 years, who died in 2019. They have four children, Hannah, Beth, Emily, and Nat, and many grandchildren.