Billionaire Banker David Rockefeller, Former Head Of Chase Manhattan, Dies At 101

Tyler Durden's picture

David Rockefeller, the famous banker and philanthropist with the family name that controlled Chase Manhattan bank for more than a decade and wielded vast influence around the world in the world of finance, has died on Monday morning at his home in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. He was 101.

A family spokesman, Fraser P. Seitel, confirmed the death.

Below is an exccerpt of his obituary from the NYT:

Chase Manhattan had long been known as the Rockefeller bank, though the family never owned more than 5 percent of its shares. But Mr. Rockefeller was more than a steward. As chairman and chief executive throughout the 1970s, he made it “David’s bank,” as many called it, expanding its operations internationally.

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, art museums, great universities and public schools.

Mr. Rockefeller could well be the last of an increasingly 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.

He was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the tycoon who founded the Standard Oil Company in the 19th century and built a fortune that made him America’s first billionaire and his family one of the richest and most powerful in the nation’s history.

As an heir to that legacy, Mr. Rockefeller lived all his life in baronial splendor and privilege, whether in Manhattan (as a boy he and his brothers would roller-skate along Fifth Avenue trailed by a limousine in case they grew tired) or at his magnificent country estates.

Imbued with the understated manners of the East Coast elite, he loomed large in the upper reaches of a New York social world of glittering black-tie galas. His philanthropy was monumental, and so was his art collection, a museumlike repository of some 15,000 pieces, many of them masterpieces, some lining the walls of his offices 56 floors above the streets at Rockefeller Center, to which he repaired, robust and active, well into his 90s.

In silent testimony to his power and reach was his Rolodex, a catalog of some 150,000 names of people he had met as a banker-statesman. It required a room of its own beside his office.

Spread out below that corporate aerie was a city he loved and influenced mightily. He was instrumental in rallying the private sector to help resolve New York City’s fiscal crisis in the mid-1970s. As chairman of the Museum of Modern Art for many years — his mother had helped found it in 1929 — he led an effort to encourage corporations to buy and display art in their office buildings and to subsidize local museums. And as chairman of the New York City Partnership, a coalition of business executives, he fostered innovation in public schools and the development of thousands of apartments for lower-income and middle-class families.
He was always aware of the mystique surrounding the Rockefeller name.

“I have never found it a hindrance,” he once said with typical reserve. “Obviously, there are times when I’m aware that I’m treated differently. There’s no question that having financial resources, which, thanks to my parents, I learned to use with some restraint and discretion, is a big advantage.”

Ambassador for Business

With his powerful name and his zeal for foreign travel — he was still traveling to Europe into his late 90s — Mr. Rockefeller was a formidable marketing force. In the 1970s his meetings with Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union and Zhou Enlai of China helped Chase Manhattan become the first American bank with operations in those countries.

“Few people in this country have met as many leaders as I have,” he said.

Some faulted him for spending so much time abroad. He was accused of neglecting his responsibilities at Chase and failing to promote aggressive, visionary managers. Under his leadership Chase fell far behind its rival Citibank, then the nation’s largest bank, in assets and earnings. There were years when Chase had the most troubled loan portfolio among major American banks.

“In my judgment, he will not go down in history as a great banker,” John J. McCloy, a Rockefeller friend and himself a former Chase chairman, told The Associated Press in 1981. “He will go down as a real personality, as a distinguished and loyal member of the community.”

His forays into international politics also drew criticism, notably in 1979, when he and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger persuaded President Jimmy Carter to admit the recently deposed shah of Iran into the United States for cancer treatment. The shah’s arrival in New York enraged revolutionary followers of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, provoking them to seize the United States Embassy in Iran and hold American diplomats hostage for more than a year. Mr. Rockefeller was assailed as well for befriending autocratic foreign leaders in an effort to establish and extend his bank’s presence in their countries.

“He spent his life in the club of the ruling class and was loyal to members of the club, no matter what they did,” The New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote in 2002, citing the profitable deals Mr. Rockefeller had cut with “oil-rich dictators,” “Soviet party bosses” and “Chinese perpetrators of the Cultural Revolution.”

Still, presidents as ideologically different as Mr. Carter and Richard M. Nixon offered him the post of Treasury secretary. He turned them both down.

After the death in 1979 of his older brother Nelson A. Rockefeller, the former vice president and four-time governor of New York, David Rockefeller stood almost alone as the remaining family member with an outsize national profile. Only Jay Rockefeller, a great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, had earned prominence as a governor and United States senator from West Virginia. No one from the family’s younger generations has attained or perhaps aspired to David Rockefeller’s stature.

“No one can step into his shoes,” Warren T. Lindquist, a longtime friend, told The Times in 1995, “not because they aren’t good, smart, talented people, but because it’s just a different world.”

A Privileged Life

The youngest of six siblings, David Rockefeller was born in Manhattan on June 12, 1915. His father, John D. Rockefeller Jr., the only son of the oil titan, devoted his life to philanthropy. His mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was the daughter of Nelson Aldrich, a wealthy senator from Rhode Island.

Besides Nelson, born in 1908, the other children were Abby, who was born in 1903 and died in 1976 after leading a private life; John D. Rockefeller III, who was born in 1906 and immersed himself in philanthropy until his death in an automobile accident in 1978; Laurance, born in 1910, who was an environmentalist and died in 2004; and Winthrop, born in 1912, who was governor of Arkansas and died in 1973.

David, the youngest, grew up in a mansion at 10 West 54th Street, the largest private residence in the city at the time. It bustled with valets, parlor maids, nurses and chambermaids. For dinner every night his father dressed in black tie and his mother in a formal gown.

Summers were spent at the 107-room Rockefeller “cottage” in Seal Harbor, Me., weekends at Kykuit, the family’s country compound north of the city in Tarrytown, N.Y. The estate was likened to a feudal fief. As Mr. Rockefeller wrote in his autobiography, “Memoirs” (2002), “Eventually the family accumulated about 3,400 acres that surrounded and included almost all of the little village of Pocantico Hills, where most of the residents worked for the family and lived in houses owned by Grandfather.”

In that bucolic setting he developed a fascination for insects that would lead to his building one of the largest beetle collections in the world.

David was 21 when John D. Rockefeller died. “He told amusing stories and sang little ditties,” Mr. Rockefeller recalled in 2002. “He gave us dimes.”

His sense of noblesse oblige was heightened by his early education at the experimental Lincoln School in Manhattan, founded by the American philosopher John Dewey and financed by the Rockefeller Foundation to bring together children from varied social backgrounds. He went on to study at Harvard, receiving his B.S. in 1936, and then spent a year at the London School of Economics, a hotbed of socialist intellectuals. Mr. Rockefeller was awarded a Ph.D in economics from the University of Chicago in 1940.

Moved by the Great Depression at home and abroad, he stated in his doctoral thesis that he was “inclined to agree with the New Deal that deficit financing during depressions, other things being equal, is a help to recovery.” The notion that a Rockefeller would take such a liberal economic view was major news; the family, rock-ribbed Republican, was known for its fierce opposition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal’s author.

After receiving his doctorate, Mr. Rockefeller became a secretary to Fiorello H. La Guardia, New York’s pugnacious, liberal Republican mayor. In 1940, he married Margaret McGrath, known as Peggy, whom he had met at a dance seven years earlier, when he was a Harvard freshman and she was a student at the Chapin School in New York. His wife, a dedicated conservationist, died at 80 in 1996. They had six children: David Jr., Abby, Neva, Margaret, Richard and Eileen. A complete list of his survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. Rockefeller enlisted in the Army in 1942, attended officer training school and served in North Africa and France in World War II. He was discharged a captain in 1945.

He began his banking career in 1946 as an assistant manager with the Chase National Bank, which merged in 1955 with the Bank of Manhattan Company to become Chase Manhattan. Banking in the early postwar era was a gentleman’s profession. Top executives could attend to outside interests, using social contacts to cultivate clients, while leaving day-to-day management to junior officers. Mr. Rockefeller found plenty of time for such activities. In the late 1940s he replaced his mother on the Museum of Modern Art’s board and eventually became its chairman. He courted art collectors. In 1968, he put together a syndicate, including his brother Nelson and the CBS chairman, William S. Paley, to buy Gertrude Stein’s collection of modern art. David and Peggy Rockefeller’s own prized paintings — by Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso — were lent to the museum permanently.

Expanding a Bank Globally

Mr. Rockefeller’s rise in banking was swift. By 1961 he was president of Chase Manhattan and its co-chief executive with George Champion, the chairman. Promoting expansion overseas, Mr. Rockefeller clashed with Mr. Champion, who thought that the bank’s domestic business was more important. After Mr. Rockefeller replaced Mr. Champion as chairman and sole chief executive in 1969, he was able to enlarge the bank’s presence on almost every continent. He said his brand of personal diplomacy, meeting with heads of state, was crucial in furthering Chase’s interests.

“There were many who claimed these activities were inappropriate and interfered with my bank responsibilities,” Mr. Rockefeller wrote in his autobiography. “I couldn’t disagree more.” His “so-called outside activities,” he insisted, “were of considerable benefit to the bank both financially and in terms of its prestige around the world.”

By 1976, Chase Manhattan’s international arm was contributing 80 percent of the bank’s $105 million in operating profit. But instead of vindicating Mr. Rockefeller’s avidity for banking abroad, those figures underlined Chase’s lagging performance at home. From 1974 to 1976 its earnings fell 36 percent, while those of its biggest rivals — Bank of America, Citibank, Manufacturers Hanover and J..P. Morgan — rose 12 to 31 percent.

The 1974 recession hammered Chase, which had an unusually large portfolio of loans in the depressed real estate industry. It also owned more New York-related securities than any other bank in the mid-1970s, when the city was edging toward bankruptcy. And among major banks, Chase had the largest portfolio of nonperforming loans.

Chase also got caught up in a scandal in 1974. An internal audit discovered that its bond trading account was overvalued by $34 million and that losses had been understated. A resulting $15 million drain in net income tarnished the bank’s image. In 1975, the Federal Reserve and the comptroller of the currency branded Chase a “problem” bank.

Even as he struggled to reverse Chase Manhattan’s decline, Mr. Rockefeller found time to address New York City’s financial problems. His involvement in municipal affairs dated to the early 1960s, when, as founder and chairman of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, he recommended that a World Trade Center be built.

In 1961, largely at his instigation, Chase opened its 64-story headquarters in the Wall Street area, a huge investment that helped revitalize the financial district and encouraged the World Trade Center project to proceed.

In the mid-1970s, with New York City facing a default on its debts because of sluggish economic growth and uncontrolled municipal spending, Mr. Rockefeller helped bring together federal, state and city officials with New York business leaders to work out an economic plan that eventually pulled New York out of its crisis.

Continued reading at the NYT

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Tom Servo's picture



SOmeone on my "top 10 people i wish would die" HAS ACTUALLY DIED!!!!!!!!


Hopefully Soros won't be too far behind...


froze25's picture

Beat me too it, YES!!!!

Yukon Cornholius's picture

Happy fuckin Monday, boys and girls!

froze25's picture

I guess child blood transfusions can only carry you so far. Now let the fighting begin on who controls the vast foundations he has setup to control humanity.

"The worst thing WE gave THEM was the internet" -David Rockefeller .

Who the hell is the "WE", They need to be dealt with.

Chupacabra-322's picture

I don't like to Piss & Shit on his Grave. Hallelujah!!!

Truther's picture

Good riddance to that mother fucker. Burn in hell bitch.

AlaricBalth's picture


Council on Foreign Relations – Honorary Chairman

Americas Society – Founder and Honorary Chairman

Council of the Americas – Founder and Honorary Chairman

Trilateral Commission – Founder and Honorary North American Chairman

Bilderberg Meetings – Only member of the Member Advisory Group

Pinto Currency's picture

"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. "

But then there is this from Rockefeller's Memoirs:

" Some even believe we [Rockefeller family] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - One World, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it. "


AlaricBalth's picture

We are grateful to The Washington PostThe New York TimesTime Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination [democracy] practiced in past centuries."

—David Rockefeller in June 5, 1991 at the Bilderberger meeting in Baden Baden

Bay of Pigs's picture

I see that Ghordo doesn't reply to these rotten, evil globalists quotes.

Gee, I wonder why?

remain calm's picture

Did he jump or did someone push him? Please.

manofthenorth's picture

Hell just got a little more crowded.

Pinto Currency's picture

"Chase Manhattan had long been known as the Rockefeller bank, though the family never owned more than 5 percent of its shares."

The Rockefellers were large share holders in both Chase and Citibank. The shares held through a web of tax free foundations and not attributed to the Rockefeller family members.

More NYT fake news.

robertsgt40's picture

It's about fkg time. Others on my watch list are soros (#1), Kissinger,  and the Clintons 

knukles's picture


                         Kill the Reptilian Money-Changers

gladih8r's picture

So there is a party at Satan's place tonight I take it?  Who else is going? 

George Soros must be on the A-list for that one.


MalteseFalcon's picture

“He spent his life in the club of the ruling class and was loyal to members of the club, no matter what they did,” The New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote in 2002, citing the profitable deals Mr. Rockefeller had cut with “oil-rich dictators,” “Soviet party bosses” and “Chinese perpetrators of the Cultural Revolution.

The USA is nominally a republic.

Can anyone see how this man was inimical to the American republic?

Seemingly the boot lickers at the NYT do not.

fleur de lis's picture

Good riddance David Rockefeller.

Thanks for all your support of the psycho Bolsheviks who murdered their way the length and breadth of Russia for 70 years.

Too bad you weren't caught up in a Checka execution roundup.


svayambhu108's picture

How come they are dead, did sombody stopped with the suply of fresh blood...

snr-moment's picture

and, to boot, we learn that all the stem cell treatments and young blood infusions don't help all that much.

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

I sincerely hope that his death was incredibly painful and drawn-out over many years. 

Victory_Garden's picture

News Flash from the Future:

The former news rag Wastington Times reports to the new owner Infowars that there has been an incredible increase of 600,000.13% in hard labourous nasty stinky and filthy work loads for the cemetary workers cleaning up the miles of piles of human excrement and pee-pee that has been left on the gravesite of the wicked old evil snake scum babylonian satanic/luciferic slimebag skuz fark, David Rockefeller. People are asked to prooperly deposit their wastes. It has now become the cult thing to doo...the right thing.

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

Bury him face down, in case he comes back to life and tries to dig his way out

Placerville's picture

Seven heart transplants later.


I'm sure there is s a special place reserved just for him.

CPL's picture

Let's write the script for him then since he's coming for a visit,

He'll have a house with an overwhelming mortgage and a minimum wage job that gets replaced by robots in a couple of years just after his children die.  Then his gay partner yousef leaves him.  Many years pass and he's hooked on OTC opiates while swallowing thick loads at a truck rest stop for five bucks a shot.  Eventually he contracts aids and dies painfully without any real medical assistance.  Best part of it while going through all the bullshit he's helped make happen, he'll be perfectly aware that he was a Rockefeller in his past life.  This of course causes many problems in his life since most just think of him as mentally insane since he'll be black gay guy from a ghetto somewhere.

<Jazz Hands!>

Dame Ednas Possum's picture


You're on a roll tonight. 

Now pass the doobie... it's not a microphone.

francissba's picture

7 heart transplants?!!?!?  What the hell did they close his chest with?  Velcro?

Save_America1st's picture

Well, you know what Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo have to say about this:


Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Our prayers are answered. 

"Jump, you fuckers!"

"Another one bites the dust"

As mentioned above, apparently the blood of innocents and heart transplants can only keep a vampire alive for so long.

old naughty's picture

another useful servant reported back to Saturn base...

his "prayers" answered?

CPL's picture

Dude 'saturn' has been out of business for while.  It's more of a big creator of glass after getting nuked for a lack of gold delivery.  Their boss decided to cut losses and split.

Forty Six and 2's picture

Should really drive a wood stake through his heart just to be sure he isn't napping.

HungryPorkChop's picture

Probably Wooden Stake through the Heart?  Its extremely difficult to kill the undead by simply pushing them out a window.   

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Bay of Pigs Mar 20, 2017 2:23 PM


francissba's picture

Hi Bay of Pigs   David Rockefeller gave dimes to the poor people.  Hopefully someone will put some 10 ounce silver bars over this ghoulist son of a bitch's eyes while he's laying in state so they dont open again. 

10 ounce bars are the value of the Roosie dime's depreciated value, which happened in large part due to actions of bankers like this paper hanging SOB and his ilk

auricle's picture

So there are limits to child blood. 

OregonGrown's picture

:::::  TIGER BLOOD::::::

tmosley's picture

So when does Soros bite the dust?

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) tmosley Mar 20, 2017 10:26 AM

Let's at least hope that the 'things happen in '3' folklore holds up.

QuantumEasing's picture

Took the words out of my mouth.

CPL's picture

After he discovers his marriage to his latest bride is really a clone of his mother we dug up and got plastic surgeon to make her look chinese.  After all he wished for true love, and after reviewing his files the only person in his life that ever loved his fat ass thieving yid carcass was his mother.  Now he is the mother fucker every one knows him to be.

Yay science!

Implied Violins's picture

I think all those vaccinated babies finally caught up to him.

WillyGroper's picture

ru kidding?...they have their own undocumented breeder stock.

TahoeBilly2012's picture

National Holiday! Maybe Soros is next, we can combine the dates into DEAD OLIGARCHS DAY!!

cheech_wizard's picture

+1 Definitely need a national holiday...

A Nanny Moose's picture

I am certain his legacy is all planned out. Evil will just take on other faces in his absence.

Same with Soros. You don't gain that kind of money and power, without dragging a few souls along for the ride.

WillyGroper's picture

it would be appropriate for the alt to publish the true version of his obit.

i can only hope his demise was lingering & painful.

hope the undertaker had a very bad experience before touching such a vile excuse for a human.

he's prolly burning thru the coffin as we speak.

guess with all his money he didn't achieve immortality to become as a god.