At age 87, Banking Dynasty Member and Banker Jacob Rothschild Passes away

Jacob Rothschild, a prominent figure in finance and philanthropy, and a member of the Rothschild banking family, passed away at the age of 87.

The City grandee embarked on his career at the family bank NM Rothschild & Sons before venturing out in 1980 to co-found several companies, including J Rothschild Assurance Group, now known as St James’s Place, alongside Sir Mark Weinberg.

Lord Rothschild has had several high-ranking positions in the City, such as deputy chair of BSkyB from 2003 to 2008. He served as the chairman of RIT Capital Partners, one of the largest investment trusts listed on the London Stock Exchange, from 1988 to 2019.

He had a significant impact on the national arts and philanthropy scene, serving as chair of trustees of the National Gallery from 1985 to 1991 and chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund from 1992 to 1998. During his tenure, £1.2bn in grants were distributed to the heritage sector.

He played a key role in the restoration of Somerset House in London and received the Order of Merit in 2002 for his exceptional contributions to the arts, literature, learning, and science.

On Monday, tributes were expressed from the world of business and politics. St James’s Place expressed deep sadness. “Lord Rothschild, a highly accomplished financier and co-founder of St James’s Place, leaves behind a remarkable legacy in shaping the financial advice profession in the UK,” a statement read.

Sir Ronald Cohen, chair of the Portland Trust and a founding partner of Apax Partners, also honoured the memory of a highly innovative and accomplished figure in finance, philanthropy, and the arts.

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George Osborne, the former chancellor and current chair of trustees at the British Museum, praised Rothschild for maximising his privilege and making significant contributions to British cultural and commercial life. His work at the Waddesdon gallery has truly elevated it to a standout attraction at the British Museum.

Ed Vaizey, a Conservative peer who served as culture minister from 2010 to 2016, commended Rothschild as “one of Britain’s most significant cultural philanthropists who made a substantial contribution to the arts in this country.”

With an education from Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Rothschild was considered a top mind in the financial world during the 1980s. He participated in several notable deals, such as a £13bn bid for British American Tobacco in 1989 alongside business magnates Sir James Goldsmith and Kerry Packer.

His family described him as a significant figure in many lives, excelling in finance, promoting arts and culture, serving the public, supporting charitable causes, advocating for the environment, and being a beloved friend, father, and grandfather.

Rothschild was married for over fifty years to Serena, who passed away in 2019, and is survived by three daughters, a son, and several grandchildren.

The Rothschild Foundation expressed their condolences, stating: “He will be greatly missed by his family, his colleagues, and his many friends.”

Rothschild served as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords from April 1991 to November 1999, during a period when legislation was introduced by the Labour government to reform the chamber and reduce the number of hereditary peers.

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