Monday, March 20, 2017

Obituary: David Rockefeller

Noted banker, billionaire, and a favorite of conspiracy theorists David Rockefeller, 101, the last of the children of John D. Rockefeller Jr., has died.

He was chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank for many years and involved in various political causes.

Rockefeller joined Chase National Bank in 1946. He oversaw its merger with the Bank of the Manhattan Co. to become Chase Manhattan Bank in 1955. He grew the bank's international business and became the bank's president in 1960. He was named the chairman and chief executive in 1969 and held those titles until 1980. He retired as chairman in 1981. Under his leadership, Chase Manhattan became a pillar of the world banking system. Today it is known as JPMorgan Chase.

In addition to his role in private business, Rockefeller was also sought out for public service. He was an unofficial diplomat on several occasions and had dealings with several U.S. presidents, including Jimmy Carter, who at one time approached him for the cabinet position of secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. A lifelong moderate "Rockefeller Republican," he worked closely with both Republican and Democratic politicians. Though other members of the family were active in politics, including his brother Nelson, who served as a governor of New York, David Rockefeller never sought elective office. He focused, instead, on involvement in nongovernmental policy groups. He served on the board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and he was the director of the Council on Foreign Relations, both foreign policy think tanks. He also maintained an enduring working relationship with Henry Kissinger both before, during and after his time as secretary of state.

New York Times obituary:

His stature was greater than any corporate title might convey, however. His influence was felt in Washington and foreign capitals, in the corridors of New York City government, in art museums, in great universities and in public schools.

Mr. Rockefeller could well be the last of a less and less visible family to have cut so imposing a figure on the world stage. As a peripatetic advocate of the economic interests of the United States and of his own bank, he was a force in global financial affairs and in his country’s foreign policy. He was received in foreign capitals with the honors accorded a chief of state.

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