Guy de Rothschild
- Category : Business
- Type : PE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Uncertainty 1
Baron Guy Édouard Alphonse Paul de Rothschild (May 21, 1909 – June 12, 2007) was a French banker and member of the Rothschild family.
He chaired the bank Rothschild Frères from 1967 to 1979, when it was nationalized by the French government, and maintained possessions in other French and foreign companies including Imerys.
Baron Guy de Rothschild was born in Paris, the son of Baron Édouard de Rothschild (1868–1949) and his wife, the former German Halphen (1884–1975). His elder brother, Edouard Alphonse Emile Lionel (1906-11), died young after an appendectomy; he also had two younger sisters, Jacqueline and Bethsabée. Half of his great-grandparents were Rothschilds. He was a great-great grandson of German Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1743-1812), who founded the family's banking in the 18th century. He grew up at his parents' townhouse on the corner of the rue de Rivoli and the Place de la Concorde in Paris (a property once occupied by Talleyrand) and their country estate at Château de Ferrières, 25 miles north-east of Paris, a massive house built to a design by Joseph Paxton in the 1850s, based on Paxton's earlier design of Mentmore Towers for Baron Mayer de Rothschild of the English branch of the Rothschild family.
He was educated at the Lycée Condorcet and Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, and by private tutors. He undertook military service with the cavalry at Saumur, and played golf for France. He won the Grand Prix de Sud-Ouest in 1948.
Rothschild married twice. He married a distant cousin, Baroness Alix Hermine Jeanette Schey de Koromla (1911–1982), the former wife of Kurt Kahmer and younger daughter of the Hungarian-Jewish Baron Philip Schey von Koromla by his first wife, in 1937, and the couple had a son, David René de Rothschild. By his first wife, Rothschild also had two stepddaughters, Lili and Bettina Kahmer. They divorced in 1956.
He married a second time in 1957, to Baroness Marie-Hélène van Zuylen van Nyevelt (1927–1996), whose marriage to Count François de Nicolay had also been dissolved in 1956. Like his first wife, she was a distant cousin, though in this case, a Roman Catholic. They had one child, Baron Édouard de Rothschild.
After his second marriage, Guy de Rothschild renovated the Château de Ferrières, using it to put on lavish balls in the early 1970s, before donating it to the University of Paris in 1975. The same year, he bought the Hôtel Lambert on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris, the top floors of which became his Paris residence.
Banking and business
He began working for the family bank in 1931, joining the executive board of the family's Compagnie des chemins de fer du Nord in 1933. During World War II, he was a company commander in the 3rd Light Mechanised Division during the Battle of France in early 1940. After fighting the Nazis at Carvin, he retreated to Dunkirk. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his actions on the beaches at Dunkirk, from where he was evacuated to England. He immediately returned to France, landing at Brest, and taking charge of the family's office at La Bourboule, near Clermont-Ferrand. Under the Fascist Vichy government, his father and uncles were stripped of their French nationality, removed from the register of the Légion d'honneur, and the family was forced to sell its possessions. Rothschild managed to persuade the buyers to grant options under which he would later be able to buy the family's interests back. He left France again, via Spain and Portugal, to join his parents in New York. He joined the Free French Forces and boarded the cargo ship, Pacific Grove, to travel back to Europe. His ship was torpedoed and sunk in March 1943, and he was rescued after spending 12 hours in the Atlantic. In England, he joined the staff of General Koenig at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force near Portsmouth.
He returned to the bank's offices at rue Laffitte in Paris in 1944, and reconstructed the Rothschild banking and business empire after the war. George Pompidou who would later become President and Prime Minister of France, was recruited by him from a job as a teacher, and worked for him from 1953 to 1962, during which time he became the general manager of the Rothschild bank. The bank diversified, from investment management under De Rothschild Frères to the deposit-taking Banque de Rothschild, with branches throughout France. Guy was its president from 1968 to 1978. When the bank was nationalized in 1981 by the socialist government of François Mitterrand, Rothschild left France in anger and moved temporarily to New York. In 1987, the family banking business was restored as Rothschild & Cie Banque by his son David.
Guy de Rothschild was a renowned horsebreeder as the family owns Haras de Meautry in Normandy. He produced prominent race horses, the most famous perhaps Exbury, which won the Prix Boïard, the Prix Ganay, the Coronation Cup, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1963.
In 1950, he won the Grand Prix de Paris with Vieux Manoir, the Grand Prix de St Cloud with Ocarina, and the Grand Prix de Deauville with Alizier. As owner, he also won among others, the Prix de Diane three times (1957, 1960, 1961), the Prix Royal-Oak twice, and the Prix Morny twice. Guy de Rothschild chaired the association of racehorse breeders in France of 1975 to 1982.
In 1950, Guy de Rothschild became the first president of the Fonds Social Juif Unifié (FSJU) (United Jewish Welfare Fund), the major French philanthropic agency for the Jewish community.
In 1975, Rothschild and his wife donated the Château de Ferrières to the University of Paris.