Lord Jacob Rothschild, banking dynasty scion, backer of Jewish causes, dies at 87

President Herzog hails mogul for contributions to Israel, including Supreme Court building and new National Library; family eulogizes ‘towering presence in many peoples’ lives’

Lord Jacob Rothschild arrives for a reception hosted by Britain's Prince Charles at Clarence House in London, July 26, 2012.  (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
File: Lord Jacob Rothschild arrives for a reception, hosted by Britain's Prince Charles, at Clarence House in London Thursday, July 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

LONDON, United Kingdom — British financier Jacob Rothschild, a senior member of one of Europe’s best-known banking dynasties, has died at the age of 87, his family announced on Monday.

The family, in a statement to the UK’s Press Association news agency, called Rothschild “a towering presence in many peoples’ lives.”

He was “a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather,” the family said.

Rothschild, born in England in 1936, started his career at the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, in 1963 before going on to co-found J Rothschild Assurance Group, which became today’s London-based wealth manager St James’s Place.

He was involved in many business endeavors, including founding investment trust RIT Capital Partners, which has backed a variety of companies, from hedge funds to clean technology startups.

Rothschild was also known for being a longstanding patron of the arts, and was trustee of Britain’s National Gallery between 1985 and 1991.

File: Lord Jacob Rothschild (right) with then-prime minister Ehud Olmert, during a visit to Israel, March 12, 2008. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

President Isaac Herzog eulogized Rothschild in a post on X, hailing his contributions to Israel, including “the impressive Supreme Court building, and the beautiful new building of the National Library, which unfortunately he did not get to see.”

“Lord Rothschild’s contribution to Britain, Israel, and the world was of great importance and influence. Despite the great sadness that accompanies parting with him, especially in these difficult days, his generosity and wisdom will be remembered with love and appreciation,” Herzog wrote.

Ed Vaizey, Britain’s former culture minister, paid tribute to Rothschild on X, describing him as one of the country’s greatest cultural philanthropists.

Waddesdon Manor, an English country estate managed by the Rothschild Foundation, said on social media platform X that it and the foundation were “deeply saddened” by the death, calling Rothschild a “businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and cultural leader.”

The Rothschild banking family traces its roots back to 18th century Frankfurt, from where different family members moved to cities across Europe to build out banking businesses.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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