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HomeBusinessMichel David-Weill, Influential Lazard Banker, Dies at 89

Michel David-Weill, Influential Lazard Banker, Dies at 89

Mr. David-Weill was sometimes referred to as the “Sun King.” “Everything revolved around Michel at Lazard,” William D. Cohan, the author of “The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.” (2007), said in an interview.

Mr. Cohan worked at Lazard for six years. “To me it seemed like the most interesting and mysterious place on Wall Street. Private partnership, punching above its weight, small, elite, prestigious,” he said. “It was like a Florentine guild.”

Ali Wambold, who joined Lazard as a vice president in 1985 and became a general partner in 1987, said that Mr. David-Weill “saw himself as a gardener” and “was not especially ruthless or sharp-elbowed.” And Mr. Jacobs said, “I can’t ever remember him being imperious.” Rather, he said, he remembered a calm, polite man who thrived in one-on-one settings.

After Lazard, Mr. David-Weill dedicated himself to Eurazeo, the global investment company he formed in Paris in 2001.

“He fought a lot of battles,” said Virginie Morgon, the chief executive of Eurazeo, adding: “The battle that he fought against Bruce Wasserstein was probably the toughest one, because that was his legacy, and he had to leave the bank. But this is someone who never looked back.”

Beyond the office, Mr. David-Weill was a philanthropist and a passionate art patron with a celebrated collection. He was involved with numerous cultural institutions, including as a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In addition to his wife, Mr. David-Weill is survived by four daughters, Béatrice, Natalie, Cécile and Agathe, and 11 grandchildren.

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