Power struggle may see Lazards run by committee
Wednesday 05 February 1997
This could be one possible solution to the struggles over the succession that have seen Mr David-Weill fall out spectacularly with his dashing young son-in-law, the French banker Edouard Stern, until recently the favourite as heir-apparent.
In an interview to be published next week in Vanity Fair, the US magazine, Mr David-Weill says the Lazard group - based in Paris, London and New York - has grown so big that he is now unsure it can be run by one man.
He says he is no longer certain that "the best structure in the next generation is the same structure as today".
One possibility is to run Lazards through a group of bankers, one each in the three main centres and one or two others "not running offices, but with more ideas, more capital-minded," Mr David-Weill says.
Vanity Fair is unlikely to be pleasant reading to Mr David-Weill. One source calls him a ruthless operator who "enjoys setting people up against each other".
He is also described by colleagues and acquaintances variously as chilling, mean, cold and manipulative.
According to Vanity Fair, candidates for the new Lazards committee suggested by Mr David-Weill include David Verey, chairman of the London bank, Ken Wilson, the former Salomon Brothers banker who has an influential role in New York, and Steve Rattner.
It was Mr Rattner who had a very public falling out last year with his senior colleague Felix Rohatyn, the doyen of the Lazards New York office.
Mr Rohatyn described Mr Rattner, in remarks published in New York magazine, as a "mono-maniacal" social climber and went on to accuse him of leaking information, which he denied.
This spat between two senior men revealed to the banking world that life was far from harmonious at the top of Lazards, and that there might be a succession problem looming.
But the clearest indication of the difficulty came in a row last year between Mr David-Weill and Mr Stern, who is married to Mr David-Weill's daughter, Beatrice. The article nevertheless names Mr Stern as still among the candidates for the top at Lazards.
In his interview, Mr David-Weill denies French newspaper reports that he had a blazing row with Mr Stern, who announced he was quitting and was allegedly told by his father-in-law to go ahead and do it.
"We had a conversation about his future, which went very well. And then he told me on the telephone, no fight at all, that for the time being he preferred concentrating on investments," Mr David-Weill says.
Vanity Fair suggests the root of the argument is that Mr Stern threatened to leave if he was not put in control. But the problem for Mr David-Weill, says the article, is that Mr Stern's abusive manner and his arrogance have "continually upset the fragile ecosystem at Lazards". Mr Stern is nevertheless still working in the Lazards group.
Mr David-Weill, 64, was the man behind the resurgence of the family bank. He brought the London, Paris and New York arms of Lazard together again in 1984 for the first time since the war, through the purchase of half the London operation from Pearson. Since then, the group has outshone the rival family dynasty of Rothschild.
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Which country would be hardest to invade?
Morgan Freeman on the riot-focused coverage of the Baltimore protests: 'F**k the media'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Nepal earthquake: Many survivors receiving no help despite relief effort
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...