Bunhill: Post relinquished

Click to follow
FOR THE past few years Henry Grunfeld has not been doing what he regards as a proper day's work, arriving at around 9am and leaving at about 6pm. Lesser beings at SG Warburg felt that, given his age, their president was entitled to slow down a bit, although they still greatly valued his advice.

So last week this unsung hero of post-war banking relinquished the post of president to Sir David Scholey, 59.

Scholey can look forward to a good 30 years in the job, since Grunfeld (who will still be coming into the office most days) is 90, while his co-president, Sir Eric Roll, is an equally sprightly 86.

The Grunfelds were a German-Jewish family who had to leave their country in 1933 and who, among their other contributions to British life, rebuilt the City of London. Grunfeld was a close associate of that other Germanic genius, the late Sir Siegmund Warburg. 'You couldn't have done it without me,' Warburg once said. 'And I couldn't have done it without you.'

Today Grunfeld is the last of the handful of 'uncles' who guided the firm through its transformation from a tiny upstart to a world-scale financial institution. That he never got a title shows the absurdity of the British honours system.