Evelyn de Rothschild had eight lines in “Who’s Who”, nothing more. That may not seem like much at first glance, but with such a name, long explanations were not necessary.

It was probably at the end of the 16th century that the first people in Frankfurt called themselves Rothschild – after the red sign that once hung on a house in the Judengasse. This gave rise to the most famous banking family in the world. British banker Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild died in London at the age of 91 after a short illness, his office announced on Tuesday. He is survived by his third wife, Lynn, and three children and two stepsons.

Born into one of the wealthiest banking families

Born into one of the wealthiest banking families in 1931, Rothschild enjoyed life to the fullest as a young man: polo, horse and car racing, parties. By then, with Harrow private school and the University of Cambridge, he not only had the classic upbringing of the British upper class behind him, but was also one of the most desirable bachelors in England.

At the age of 26 he joined the family company N.M. Rothschild

For about a quarter of a century, Evelyn Rothschild was the head of the dynasty that made its money from wealthy private clients and investment banking. The first marriage was in 1966, the second, which resulted in two sons and a daughter, in 1973. In 2000 he married a third time, the American entrepreneur and close friend of Hillary Clinton, Lynn Forester. She brought two children into the marriage.

Under Rothschild’s leadership, the company specialized in the lucrative consulting business for IPOs, takeovers and mergers as well as the privatization of state-owned companies. Rothschild was involved in the privatization of the British electricity and water industries as well as in the takeover of the D2 Mannesmann group by Vodafone or other billion dollar deals from German companies such as Henkel, Eon or Wella.

Knighted in 1989

In 1989 the banker was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was allowed to call himself Sir Evelyn from then on. He only withdrew from the operative business in old age – not without making it clear that he intends to continue to have a say. “I’m not retiring,” he said in a rare interview. “If you need me, I’m ready. There can always be situations in the world where you’re needed again.”

The businessman was also involved in charity. In 1967 he founded the Eranda Rothschild Foundation, which provided more than 73 million pounds (83.7 million euros) for medical research, education and the arts. For a long time he was also chairman of the weekly newspaper “The Economist”.

Occasionally, in retirement, Rothschild would publish his views on the economy and banking ethics in the Huffington Post online newspaper. He once told the British newspaper “Daily Telegraph” that what concerns him most is “the big difference between the haves and the have-nots” and the topic of “impact investment” – investments with the goal of measurable social and ecological results in addition to financial returns to achieve. But the passionate art collector usually stuck to the old banker’s rule that discretion is the most important thing.