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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wildbad's picture

good fucking riddance.

now :
zbiggy brzinski
henry kissenger

and above all

George Soros

die and meet your MAKER!

HenryKissingerChurchill's picture

good fucking riddance.

now :
zbiggy brzinski
henry kissenger

and above all

George Soros

die and meet your MAKER!

Hey sport, watch it.

Aaaarghh's picture

Thank you, made my day....

I'm gonna crack open a cold one in celebration!

cheers ZHers :P

Diatom's picture

1991... 4 years to the commercial Internet. The worst thing acording to Rockfucker...


Akzed's picture

None Dare Call It Conspiracy, by Gary Allen, tells the sordid tale.

WillyGroper's picture

that book should be required reading for all.

froze25's picture

Yes, you are correct sir.

FatTony7915726's picture

No peace for him in Hell.  Satan will stick a watermelon up his ass at 3:00PM daily as for starters

logicalman's picture

There's a BBC radio show called Old Harry's Game - it's about Satan having to intervene due to hell getting too full.

Some of the treatments for his minions are very creative.

swytt's picture

Had a hard day at work.made me have a hearty laugh

Implied Violins's picture

I have literally forced people to read it at gunpoint. It kinda made the point.

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

More knowledge in that book than a lifetime of schooling

geno-econ's picture

Also Founding Honorary Chairman, US-USSR Trade and Economic Council but then Congress passed Jackson-Vanik and Kissinger turned towards China.  RIP David, you had the right idea>

Chupacabra-322's picture

Fuck'n iShit piece of shit type O.

I'd love to piss & shit on his Grave. Rejoice everyone!

detached.amusement's picture

lol Billionaire.  Fake News!  spelled trillionaire wrong, but then people might start to wonder

(outside of the ones already thinking, of course)

runningman18's picture

Waking up to some good news, for once. 

Tiger Rocks Dale's picture

Let's not celebrate quite yet.  If I were an extremely rich and diabolical person hell bet on spreading my idealogies upon man kind, I would be cryogenically frozen upon my death only to be resurrected to rule the human race in the future by setting up and funding the globalist political landscape now.  We must ensure that the brain is destroyed.. completely.  

Implied Violins's picture

It's probably too late...he had his soul transferred to one of his fresh clones.


wchild's picture

I assure you...  He will! 

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Chupacabra-322 Mar 20, 2017 10:03 AM



wchild's picture

We should be so lucky, and they can join each other for all eternity...  Sooner rather than later - all the better

treefeller's picture

Back before Walt Disney decided it would be great fun to chop his head off and have it mounted onto another unwilling corpse det ta, there was Jeremy Bentham who to this day presides over meetings at his alma mater despite being dead for a couple years, give or take a century or two.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Do you think he (Rockefeller) managed to usurp Satan? 

logicalman's picture

Satan needs a vacation - needed someone to take his place while he's away.

Dabooda's picture

God keeps winning???

Rockefeller lives till 101, famous, honored, rich and powerful beyond imagining.

Jesus Christ lives to be about 33 in poverty, then gets crucified.

What kind of conduct does God reward, and what does he punish?  Not talking about some hypothetical Heaven -- here on earth?

A religion that preaches the virtue of poverty and giving up worldly possessions will always find vocal support from those who want to collect the worldly possessions from those who can be persuaded to give them up.


ParkAveFlasher's picture

Your mind works fine.  You simply lack faith. 

The Merovingian's picture

That fucking guy lived a long god-damned time. Sheesh. Time for a jig thou.

chubbar's picture

He'll be known as a traitor to his countrymen, nothing more. Here's a few more I'd like to see go: Kissinger, Soros, Brezinski, Clinton (both actually), McCain and a whole host of others I would prefer not to spend time trying to think of.

Gladi8tor's picture

when george soros goes....thats REALLY when the planet will evolve again!

treefeller's picture

I think George Webb is on to something. Don't know if this is true, but if it is, this here is some kind of sick shit.

Six hearts, a couple of kidneys and God knows how many childs blood transfusions were coursing through this old curr.

QuantumEasing's picture

This day just got added to the calendar.

Ding dong, the Lich is dead!

Of course, in an undisclosed location, a clone is stirring in its amniotic growth cell...

Idaho potato head's picture

Finnally, some good news! Soros next....

unrulian's picture

must have skipped his morning blood-of-a-small-boy power shake

FatTony7915726's picture

He's gonna have a lot of Esplainin to do with God! Then the lake of fire!  Thank you Lord for giving me one of my biggest wishes!

HRClinton's picture

Real Royalty gets to live longer than 95.

I hope to be in that group. 

RIP, David. The new owners will not day Kadish for you. 

LoneStarHog's picture

May he ROT IN HELL, if even Lucifer will accept him.

Obadiah's picture

More like laugh in his face as he yells you FOOL!  hahahaha

political_proxy's picture

He has trained enough to continue his (ie: the devil's) work so Satan brought him to his new home.

Soros has nearly completed his Devil's work here, he should be brought home soon too.

ThirteenthFloor's picture

Raise a glass, make a toast.

" drink to me, drink to our health "

Urahara's picture

FUCK YES! I really hope this is true, and not this jackass faking his death and living it up good with the life extension technologies and a 10th heart.

Rodders75's picture

I disagree. If Soros dies then he can't stand trial for his crimes. Somebody keep him alive until after the indictments. 

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

The world will be a MUCH BETTER PLACE when Soros kicks the bucket!

Raffie's picture

One down and many more to go.

hongdo's picture

Only the good die young.  All the evil seem to live forever.

sgt_doom's picture



Ding-Dong, The Bitch is Dead!

Yup, old Davy Rockefeller.  That Rockefeller family, which smuggled in oil to Hitler's Nazi Third Reich --- through Spain and Switzerland --- during World War II.  (See congressional investigations of the 1940s.)

Hated President John F. Kennedy, as he stood in the way of the formation of a global banking cartel, what with his refusal to allow an amendment to the Banking Act which would allow American banks (notably Rockefeller's) to purchase foreign banks; LBJ would later sign that amendment when he became prez.

Basically, everyone involved in the assassination of JFK was connected to the Rockefeller brothers (David and Nelson), the only exceptions, and those were one degree seperation, were Jack Ruby and William Harvey.  DeMohrenschildt had worked for Nelson Rockefeller in his Central American/South American intelligence operation during WWII, Dulles as an attorney, multiple times, etc., etc.

Nelson Rockefeller liked to boast that he paid for the funeral of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Wouldn't be surprised if he ordered his murder, also!)

NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and the previous massacres of workers by past generations of Rockefellers --- no friend to the worker, whatever drivel they push about their "philanthropy"!

Wouldn't be surprised to learn that David Rockefeller had ordered the murder of Sen. Paul Wellstone (and members of his family), who had been working on national collective bargaining rights legislation at the time of his death by plane accident.


Lessons Never Learned

On the front page of the Sunday Seattle Times was the caption:  "Farmers Want Foreign Workers"!

Funny, they didn't feature the story on their front page, back around 2006-2007, when farms in central Washington state laid off the Mexican and American farm workers and flew in Thai worker replacements because they were cheaper!

And then in their editorial page they featured a column by Leonard Pitts, Jr. (a guy who has had some interesting columns in the past) claiming that Trump was "delegitimizing the media" --- that's been going on many decades --- or centuries --- before the Trumpster, and I was aware of it from 1963 on, with all the bullcrap surrounding the Kennedy assassination (and later the MLK and RFK murders) and that bullcrap affair called the Warren Commission.

Saw some interviews on Fake News/CNN, featuring former middle-class, now low-class, white couples who voiced their concerns about their small businesses, and therefore were voting for Hillary Clinton, while similar others were voting for Donald Trump?!?!

Reminds me of long ago when I was still a street-level activist (volunteer, of course, never a paid one) before I switched over to financial activism, and I was addressing a gathering of PATCO members (air traffic controller union) who were about to endorse Ronald Reagan for president in 1980.

I explained that although I was disappointed with Jimmy Carter, as he never promised in his first campaign that he would abolish anti-usury federal regulations and do all the de-regulation he was responsible for (and fire that head of the National Geological Survey for being an honest professional who admitted there was no shortage of natural gas), he would still be the lesser evil.

PATCO went ahead anyway and endorsed Reagan and several months later lost their jobs!

Why oh why would anyone vote for a Bush, a Clinton or a Trump is beyond this sane American!

Now we see the Trump Administration taking a bad bill --- ObamaCare --- and making it far worse.

ObamaCare was essentially a wealth transfer from the middle-class to the lower class (economically speaking), and benefitting the healthcare companies, of course, although it did tax the 1 percent a pittance ($150,000 per) --- thus continuing the planned for destruction of the middle class in America.

Now the Trump Health Plan (NightMareCare ???), flips that and is essentially a wealth transfer from the lower socioeconomic group to the middle socioeconomic group - - - while axing that $150,000 tax on the upper 1 percent bunch!

I have been voting either Green Party or socialist since 1992, and wonder about everyone else, especially today?

Sidebar:  Heard a talk by Edward Snowden, and that young fellow seems far more savvy and intelligent and knowledgeable than Ralph Nader, who in his last talk was repeating the Wall Street meme that there are no owners anymore in America, simply bad CEOs.  (Wasn't Ralph Nader the one who wrote that silly book titled:  "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us"?  Guess he got his dream with Trump becoming president?!?!?)

Glad to hear at least one American knows stuff, but unfortunately he's over in Russia.