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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Akzed's picture

Burns = Jacob Rothschild.

rf80412's picture

Nah.  Mr. Burns owns a power plant, which at least produces something of real value.

If Burns owned the First Bank of Springfield, held all of Springfield's mountain of municipal bonds (to the point where people's taxes all go to interest payments on the town's debt), and tried to foreclose on the Simpsons once a season, then he'd be a better expy of Rothschild.

Akzed's picture

It's a cartoon, dude.



flaminratzazz's picture

The wheel in the sky keeps on turning

me or you's picture

Great news...Soros next.

BuckWild's picture

That sure is a short list? What about Gates, Buffet, Musk, Etc. The worthless scums that prey on our world!

TheMagician's picture

I believe the doors of Hell need to be widened to let this fucker through. Man, the crimes committed by the SOB are far too many to count. His attending demons will be complaining about ages about the necessity of paid overtime.

Stopdreaming's picture

Boy does this dude have some HEAVY KARMA to pay back...whoooosh

BingoBoggins's picture

Huzzah! Hooray! Since when has disregard for human suffering been so delicious? Today, Bitchezzzz!!!!!

BingoBoggins's picture

Was L. Frank Baum more prescient than Orwell??? See it and *believe* it!

*Still* not convinced? Behold! Hillary and the MSM!!!


barysenter's picture

Yes he was. If you step back and take in the bigger scope you'll see that (((the operators))) make fairy tales of the parables (((they))) really dread, in order to derail the message & deceive all children. (((They))) made fairy tales of all western cultural moral instructions including the Bible. This is why jews, muslims and hindus kill non-believers and anybody who alters their dogma. They did not make fairy tales out of Brave New World, 1984 or The New World Order. They did make derivative productions exploring their themes. Star Wars and Star Trek are currently the most popular derivatives with the illiterate and IYI media illiterati.

BingoBoggins's picture

You sound (a little bit ) cynical. You must be a Romantic at heart.

williambanzai7's picture

Take it all with you you piece of shit.

behind the curtain's picture

On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero .. In case you forgot .. ;)

BingoBoggins's picture

We here in Munchkin Land are reminded of it every day, thank you very much!!!

BingoBoggins's picture

Sir!!!Your moniker is most telling, sir, indeed!!!!!!!!

TeethVillage88s'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,..."

- You can't get blood from a Stone... OR can you?

Is this what they did to Rome?

- Expand US Consumer Credit in 1970s after Nixon Shock
- Expand new Fiat through Money Supply after tying to Petroleum (Deflate the USD)
- Export Jobs, Manufacturing, Services, Tax-base of Wealthy & Corporations, Capital Flight
- Open Borders to Low Skilled Labor, Import STEM at Low Labor Rate, and Bring in 1 Million Legal Immigrants a year
- Create Housing Bubble, Defense Bubble, Junk Bond Bubble, Dot Com Tech Bubble, Another Housing Bubble, another Defense Bubble,...
- Tighten up Bankruptcy Laws
- Deregulate Energy, Oil, Food Commodities, Communications & Media, Banking, Utilities
- After Crisis, Bailout Corporations, Allow Central Bank to buy Bonds & Treasuries, Prevent Savers from Income from Savings, CDs, Treasuries with LIRP/ZIRP/NIRP
- Allow Insurance & Pensions to go unfunded, overproject Returns, and Fail without Safe Assets
- Do all that for 50 Years while Inflation turns USA into Europe, Health Care, Education, Housing, Infrastructure, Defense Weapons, Govt Salaries...
- Then invade or Overrun 7 Countries in 14 years!!

That is HOW YOU GET BLOOD FROM A STONE when a countries National Budget gets out of control in Vietnam War.

Just reflecting on a post.

Oh BTW, students: ask your Jewish professors why College/University Overhead is Sky High and they don't want all students to LEARN BUSINESS SKILLS AND ACCOUNTING PRIOR TO GRADUATION.

Oh BTW, students: ask your Jewish professors why College/University Admin Costs are like Bad Charities in the 1970s, UNICEF, MARCH OF DIMES, and they don't want all students to LEARN BUSINESS SKILLS AND ACCOUNTING PRIOR TO GRADUATION.

Oh BTW, students: ask your Jewish professors why 80,333 Bank Entities can Create Money out of THIN AIR, but 270 Million US Adults can't have the same power/share the power as a Commons? 270M/80333 = ratio of 8361 times more people than Bank Entities?

Oh BTW, students: ask your Jewish professors why the Clinton Foundation Overhead/Admin Costs are like Bad Charities in the 1970s, UNICEF, MARCH OF DIMES, and they don't want all students to LEARN BUSINESS SKILLS AND ACCOUNTING PRIOR TO GRADUATION.

Immigration by the Numbers -- Off the Charts (40 Million Legal Immigrants in the USA)

Trade balance Current-account balance Currency units Budget balance Interest rates
Country latest 12 months, $bn latest 12 months, $bn % of GDP, 2016* Feb 16th, per $ year ago, per $ % of GDP 2016* 3-month latest 10-year government bonds, latest
United States -750.1Dec

Trade Balance negative 750 Billion.

BuckWild's picture

Good Riddance you scumbag!

kidbroge's picture

The article called him a philanthropist, I wonder what other things he could be called but werent mentioned.

logicalman's picture

Plenty of 'other things' in this comment section!


Brazen Heist's picture

Next up:

George Soros
Zbigniew Brezinski
Madeleine Albright
John McCain

and the lost goes on and on and on

south40_dreams's picture

Bill Clinton looks like death in the headlights

WillyGroper's picture

spose he really had a quad bypass?




Chet Ricco's picture

On a long enough time line the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

Gamma735's picture

We all have to serve someone.  He is now met who he served in life.   Burn in Hell, Mr. Rockefeller.

jangojango's picture

When a good man dies there are many good things to say about him.  When an evil man dies, it's hard to find any good things to say.  As someone once said:  Will they be glad you came or glad you left? 

sgt_doom's picture

Credit is where credit was due, after all.

Let us never forget that the mind who gave us the first drive-by murders in America (Ludlow Massacre), begot David and Nelson, they who ordered the murders of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Blackhawks's picture

Vampire pedophile isn't dead. The soulless monster is resting in its crypt in the basement of the pizza joint.

venturen's picture

Darth Vader was quoted to saying....."...he felt a disturbance in the dark side of the force with this passing"

English herbsman's picture

Dead? Or has he shifted his mind into a machine? 

With the leaps in technology recently the latter is quite pluasable.

That being said, no person derserves hell better than this man. 

markar's picture

Just to be sure, please drive a stake through his heart

Akzed's picture

Yes, and put his severed head between his feet with a brick in his mouth so he can't bite me.

HenryKissingerChurchill's picture

Just to be sure, please drive a stake through his heart

he had 7 heart transplants... I would prefer to microwave his brain, just to be shure

Mr. Pain's picture

THe world is a better place today.

Oil_trash's picture

Must be fake news, We all know they never die, if they did Soros would of died 10 yrs ago

kidbroge's picture

His transplanted heart has two years of milage on it. Can it be removed and placed inside a younger, more  deserving human... but who would want it.

Uranium Mountain's picture

Ironically,  I was taking a dump as I read this.

Posa's picture

The Rockefellers -- and David himself-- hand selected Brzezinski and Kissinger.. and through them controlled US foreign policies almost continuously to this day... David also pulled von Hyack from the street... thus creating the Austrian- Libertarian anti-government shock troops... the latter move was pretty shrewd... if you're a rent-seeking monopolist in energy and finance only the US government can have any affect on your monopoly business model... so all you need to do to protect your racket is fund the Libertarian anti-government shock troops, the soft Chicago School versions of same, while buying up the major parties and filling the US government with your own people, especially at State and Pentagon.

Massive psy-war aimed at the US population, the Green Malthusian movement, and especially de-population and eugenics were always Rockefeller specialties, and David provided major contributions.  Uber Evil ...


geekz_rule's picture

Freidrich Hayek, Austrian Economist, proposed 4 plank plan to bring about absolute Monopoly for the 1%, which, Monopoly, always was the real intention. "Competition is a sin" J. Rockefeller. Hayek's plan: 1) deregulate global financial markets, 2) deregulate global trade, 3) Bankrupt all sovereigns and nations with fiat, paper "debt" (and neuter their capability to enforce laws and prevent their being consumed by 1%), 4) Privatize Everything. create permanent rent payers for even the most basic necessities of life. Implemented globally with force, using their super soverign global banking control entities, WTO, WB, IMF, BIS, etc. We are 99.99% there. we are slaves to a global 1%, they have monopolized everything. this condition will not, nor can not, be changed with BS "elections" run by the very 1% we seek to depose. #BankstersAreGangsters #PlantationLife #HostLife (Becasue we are afterall, nothing but Hosts (food source) for the 1% Inbred Parasites

Cforestntrees's picture

Yea expect we have the Domino app and March Madness NCAA !!
Go Baylor

Posa's picture

Yes. I think you've nailed it..

von Hayek and the rest of the Libertarian crew have one goal in life : Weaken and destroy government (especially democratic or populist government)... the rest is persiflage for the stooges who line up behind him...

David R. didn't set up von Hayek in business becauyse he was afraid he would destroy his family monopolies... he hired him to neuter goverment so government wouldn't interfere with his businesses

The rest is utopina fantasy that the Rockefellers, Kochs, GAtes ... all them them would prefer; namely, a global government ruled by financial- corporate Mandarins

Genby's picture

7 hearts transplanted.

7 people died so this motherfucker could live 1 motherfucking year more.

Shrapnel's picture

It's a beautiful day!

Old Pecksniff's picture

David Rockefeller was a globalist.  Globalists are evil.

TeethVillage88s's picture

David Rockefeller "You didn't build that Nation".

"Your Country is NOT Unique among those of the world".

"Your founding documents do not enter into the Argument about Trade, Borders, Immigration, War Powers, Budget Powers, Legislative Powers, Central Bank Powers, the creation of Fiat, the regulation of Market Exchanges, High Frequency Algo Trading, Margin Trading, What is an Asset or a Derivative, What is Fraud or Counterfeiting,..." "That is for Lobbyists to DECIDE".

"Asset Bubbles, Housing Bubbles, Private Health Care Bubbles, and Inflation are all a Gift".

"Spending 1 Trillion Annually on the MIC, is a great gift".


Rockefeller commission: ( final report of the Pike Committee was never officially published)

Volaille de Bresse's picture

Chuck Berry's death was a let-down but this one makes me feel all giddy!

TeaClipper's picture

Chuck Berry was a criminal sexual deviant, and a nasty piece of work to all he came into contact with. Any cudos he earned for Johhny B Good, which he probably plagiarised anyway, was negated by his later offering of my ding a ling.