Banking magnate, philanthropist, and petroleum empire heir, David Rockefeller, died on Monday morning signaling a transition of dynasties within the Rockefeller family.
Rockefeller was the grandson of Standard Oil Founder John D Rockefeller and the former chairman of The Chase Manhattan Bank.
According to a family spokesperson, Rockefeller died peacefully in his sleep at the family estate in Pocantico Hills, New York. At the time of his death, Rockefeller was worth an estimated $3.3 billion which made him the 604th richest person on Earth according to Forbes rankings.
Rockefeller Foundation, President Rajiv Shah, had this to say about him, “Today the world has lost a great man and philanthropist, and we, a dear friend and inspiration. All of us who work to make change by bringing together leaders from the worlds of business, government, philanthropy and beyond owe David an enormous debt of gratitude.”
Rockefeller was the guardian of the family’s fortune, acting as patriarch and was the head of a sprawling network of family interests from the business to philanthropic fields that ranged from environmental conservation to arts.
Life and times of David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller was born on June 12th, 1915 as a sixth child to John D Rockefeller and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. He graduated from Harvard in 1936 and got a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago. He enlisted in the US Army in 1942, and in various places in World War II, including Southwestern France and Africa, rose to the rank of captain.
After the war, Rockefeller joined the Chase National Bank in 1946 and became vice president in 1949. He rose to become executive vice president in 1955, and soon after that vice chairman. He was named the president and co-CEO on January of 1961 and eventually became the sole CEO and chairman from 1969 to 1980.
Unlike his brothers, Nelson Rockefeller who had his eye on the white house, and briefly served as vice president of the United States, David Rockefeller preferred to concern himself with power and influence without encumbering himself with public office.
Among some of his accomplishments include initiating the project which led to the construction of the World Trade Center. Former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg claimed: “No individual has contributed more to the commercial and civic life of New York City over a longer period of time than David Rockefeller.”
Unlike his brothers, Laurance and John D the 3rd who shied away from the spotlight and were known for philanthropy projects, David Rockefeller embraced business and traveled widely, thus becoming the champion for capitalism on a global scale.
As a business statesman, Rockefeller preached capitalism at home and favored assisting economies abroad according to grounds of bringing prosperity to the Third World would create customers who wanted American products.
He disagreed with some of his fellow business associates on the subject of income taxes on the reason they were defaulting on their taxation obligations.
He never said how much he paid in taxes on a regular basis and did not speak about his personal wealth. As one of the Rockefeller grandchildren, David was the last of a generation in which the inherited family billions were concentrated in a few hands, hence the reason why he was the patriarch. The next generation is known as ‘the cousins,’ are far more numerous.