《紐約時報》︰世界舞台此後再無洛克菲勒?

來源:騰訊財經 作者︰ 發表時間︰2017-03-21 10:07

《紐約時報》︰世界舞台此後再無洛克菲勒?

北京時間2017年3月20日晚(當地時間20日早晨),洛克菲勒家族現存最年長的成員大衛•洛克菲勒(David Rockefeller)在美國紐約州Pocantico Hills的家中逝世,享年101歲。

《紐約時報》在大衛•洛克菲勒去世後發表了長篇訃告,以下是訃告全文︰

慈善家、大通曼哈頓銀行領袖大衛•洛克菲勒逝世 享年101歲

著名的銀行家和慈善家大衛•洛克菲勒(David Rockefeller)已于當地時間周一早上在其位于紐約州Pocantico Hills的家中逝世,享年101歲。

洛克菲勒家族的發言人弗雷澤•賽特爾(Fraser P. Seitel)證實了大衛•洛克菲勒的死訊。

大通曼哈頓銀行(Chase Manhattan)長期以來都被稱為洛克菲勒銀行——盡管洛克菲勒家族的持股比例從來都沒有超過5%。但是,大衛•洛克菲勒遠非只是一名“管家”而已。作為這家銀行在整個二十世紀七十年代期間的董事長兼首席執行官,他使其變成了許多人口中的“大衛的銀行”,將其業務擴展到了國際市場上。

洛克菲勒的名望之高,不是任何公司頭餃所能傳達出來的。他的影響力滲透到了華盛頓和其他國家的首都、紐約市政府、藝術博物館、大學和公立學校。

對于洛克菲勒這個日漸淡出人們視線的家族來說,大衛•洛克菲勒可能是最後一位在世界舞台上給人留下了深刻印象的出色人物。作為美國以及他自己麾下銀行的經濟利益的巡游倡導者,他曾是全球金融事務乃至美國外交政策中的一股力量。在其他國家的首都,他曾受到過等同于國家元首的榮寵接待。

在周一逝世以前,大衛•洛克菲勒是約翰•洛克菲勒(John D. Rockefeller)最後一個仍舊在世的孫子,後者在十九世紀創建了標準石油公司(Standard Oil Company),並因此而創造出了龐大的財富,成為了美國的第一位億萬富豪,同時也使其家族成為了美國歷史上最富有也是最強大的家族之一。

作為一名遺產繼承人,大衛•洛克菲勒一生都過著優渥的特權生活,無論是在曼哈頓(在童年時期,他和他的兄弟們在第五大道上溜旱冰的時候,身後都會跟著一輛豪華轎車,以免他們玩累了)還是在其宏偉的田莊里都是如此。

大衛•洛克菲勒從小被灌輸了東海岸精英保持低調態度的禮儀習慣,成年後他在紐約市西裝革履的上流社會里脫穎而出。他的慈善事業是不朽的,正如其藝術收藏品一樣。他收藏了大約1.5萬件藝術品,宛如一個藝術博物館,其中有很多都是大師級的杰作。在他位于洛克菲勒中心離地面56層高的辦公室的牆面上,懸掛了其中的一些藝術品。

他的聯絡簿是其權力和人脈的無言證詞,其中羅列了他作為一名銀行家兼政治家所踫面過的大約15萬人的姓名。這個名錄的規模是如此龐大,以至于他不得不在自己的辦公室旁邊專門設了一個房間用以保存。

在洛克斐勒中心俯瞰之下的是他深愛的、同時也是他施加了強力影響的紐約市。在二十世紀七十年代中期的紐約市財政危機期間,他在號召私營部門幫助解決那場危機中起到了關鍵性的作用。他在多年時間里一直都擔任紐約市現代藝術博物館(Museum of Modern Art)的主席一職——這個博物館是由他的母親在1929年時幫助成立起來的——在這個位子上,他曾領導過一場鼓勵公司購買和在其辦公樓里展示藝術品並資助當地博物館的運動。而作為企業高管聯盟“紐約市合作組織”(New York City Partnership)的主席,他致力于在公立學校中培育創新精神,並為中低收入家庭開發了成千上萬的公寓房。

大衛•洛克菲勒一直都很清楚地認識到“洛克菲勒”這個姓氏周圍所圍繞著的神秘性。

“我從來都不覺得它是個障礙。”他在生前曾這樣說過。“很明顯,有很多次我意識到自己是被區別對待了。毫無疑問,擁有財務資源是個很大的優勢;但要感謝我的父母的是,我學會了如何以克制和自由裁量的態度來使用那些資源。”

商業大使

強大的家族名再加上大衛•洛克菲勒本人對出游海外的熱情——直到快100歲高齡之時,他還是會出游歐洲——他成為了一種令人生畏的營銷力量。在二十世紀七十年代他曾與前埃及領袖薩達特(Mohamed Anwar el-Sadat)、前蘇聯領袖勃列日涅夫(Leonid Brezhnev)和周恩來會面,這些會面幫助大通曼哈頓銀行成為了第一家在埃及、前蘇聯和中國擁有業務運營的美國銀行。

“在這個國家里,很少有人像我那樣見過那麼多的國家領導人。”他說道。

有些人挑剔地批評稱其花了太多時間出游海外,他曾被指無視其在大通曼哈頓銀行的職責,而且沒有擢升那些積極進取的、遠見卓識的經理人。在他領導之下,大通曼哈頓銀行在資產和盈利兩方面都遠遠落後于其競爭對手、時為美國最大銀行的花旗銀行。在有些年頭里,大通曼哈頓銀行曾是美國大型銀行中不良貸款最多的一家。

“根據我的判斷,他不會作為一名偉大的銀行家而青史留名。”大衛•洛克菲勒生前的好友、也曾擔任過大通曼哈頓銀行董事長的約翰•麥克克洛伊(John J. McCloy)在1981年接受美聯社采訪時如是說。“而是將作為一個真正有個性的名人、一位卓越而忠誠的社區成員而被人銘記。”

與此同時,大衛•洛克菲勒涉足國際政治之舉也引來了批評,尤其是在1979年,當時他跟前美國國務卿亨利•基辛格(Henry A. Kissinger)一起說服了時任美國總統的吉米•卡特(Jimmy Carter),批準當時遭到驅逐的伊朗國王進入美國就醫。在伊朗國王抵達紐約時 ,霍梅尼(Ayatollah Ruhollah KhoMEini)的革命派追隨者被觸怒了,他們攻佔了美國駐伊朗大使館,在長達一年多的時間里扣押美國外交官作為人質。

“他窮其一生都在統治階層的‘俱樂部’里游蕩,並且忠于這個‘俱樂部’的成員,無論他們做過些什麼。”《紐約時報》的專欄作家大衛•布魯克斯(David Brooks)曾在2002年這樣寫道。他在當時援引了大衛•洛克菲勒達成的一些交易,比如說跟“富油國的獨裁者 ”和“前蘇聯黨魁”之間達成的交易等。

然而,即如卡特和理查德•尼克松(Richard M. Nixon)這樣在意識形態上迥然有異的美國前任總統,卻都向大衛•洛克菲勒提出了讓他擔任美國財政部長的邀請,但他拒絕了兩人的邀請。

大衛•洛克菲勒的兄長尼爾森•洛克菲勒(Nelson A. Rockefeller)曾做過美國副總統,還曾四次擔任紐約州州長,而在他于1979年去世以後,大衛•洛克菲勒幾乎成為這個家族唯一還擁有全國影響力的成員。除了他以外,只有約翰•洛克菲勒的重孫杰•洛克菲勒(Jay Rockefeller)以其曾擔任一州州長以及來自西弗吉尼亞的美國參議員的身份而擁有過卓著的聲名。在洛克菲勒家族的年輕一代中,沒人曾經獲得過——或者說很可能是沒人渴求過——像大衛•洛克菲勒那樣的聲望。

“沒人能穿進他的鞋。”他生前的長期摯友沃倫•林德奎斯特(Warren T. Lindquist)曾在1995年向《泰晤士報》這樣說道。“不是因為他們不夠好或是不夠聰明,而只是因為(他就像是)在另一個世界。”

優渥生活

大衛•洛克菲勒出生于1915年6月12日,他那一代共有六個兄弟姐妹,而他是其中最年幼的一個。他的父親小約翰•洛克菲勒(John D. Rockefeller Jr.)是約翰•洛克菲勒膝下獨子,將其一生都奉獻給了慈善事業;他的母親艾比•奧爾德里奇•洛克菲勒(Abby Aldrich Rockefeller)則是尼爾森•奧爾德里奇(Nelson Aldrich)的女兒,後者是來自羅德島州的一名富有的參議員。

除了生于1908年的尼爾森以外,大衛•洛克菲勒的其他四個兄弟姐妹分別是︰出生于1903年、在度過了私密不為人知的一生之後于1976年去世的艾比;出生于1906年的約翰•洛克菲勒三世(John D. Rockefeller III),他跟其父一樣投身于慈善事業,直至1978年在一場車禍中喪生;出生于1910年的勞倫斯,他生前是一名環境學家,去世于2004年;以及1912年出生的溫斯洛普,他曾當過阿肯色州州長,已于1973年逝世。

作為同代人中的幼子,大衛•洛克菲勒是在紐約西54街10號的一座宅邸中長大成人的,這座宅邸在當時是紐約市最大的私人住所,貼身男僕、客廳女僕、護士和家庭女僕隨處可見。在每天晚上就餐時,他的父親都會戴著黑色領結,母親則總是穿著正式禮服。

夏日周末則總是在位于緬因州Seal Harbor的洛克菲勒“村舍”度過的,這個所謂的“村舍”共有107個房間,坐落于紐約州城市Tarrytown北部的洛克菲勒家族莊園(Kykuit),這個莊園經常都被比作封建時代的封地。正如大衛•洛克菲勒在2002年撰寫的自傳《回憶錄》(Memoirs)中所寫的那樣︰“到最後,家族積累起了周邊的大約3400英畝土地,其中包含了Pocantico Hills的幾乎所有小村莊,其中大多數居民都為家族工作,生活在我祖父擁有所有權的房子里。”

在那種田園風光的環境里,他培養出了著迷于研究昆蟲的愛好,到後來這種愛好使其成為了全球最大的甲蟲收藏家之一。

到大衛•洛克菲勒21歲的時候,約翰•洛克菲勒去世了。“他生前會講很有趣的故事,還會唱小曲。”大衛•洛克菲勒在2002年時回憶道。“他會給我們10分硬幣。”

大衛•洛克菲勒秉持“地位高則責任重”的理念,而這種理念跟他在實驗性的曼哈頓林肯學校(Lincoln School)的早期受教育經歷是分不開的,這所學校是由美國慈善家約翰•杜威(John Dewey)創辦的,並由洛克菲勒基金會(Rockefeller Foundation)提供資金支持,宗旨是接納來自于不同社會背景的兒童入學。畢業以後,他進入哈佛大學深造,在1936年拿到了學士學位,隨後在倫敦經濟學院(London School of Economics)求學一年,這所學院是社會知識分子的溫床。到1940年,他拿到了芝加哥大學的經濟學博士學位。

有感于美國內外的“大蕭條”(Great Depression)形勢,他在自己的博士論文中寫道,他“傾向于認同羅斯福新政(New Deal)的觀點,也就是在其他條件相同的情況下,赤字融資在經濟低迷時期是有助于經濟復蘇的”。他抱持這樣一種經濟觀可以說是個重磅新聞,這是因為洛克菲勒家族是頑固的共和黨人,以其激烈反對時任美國總統的富蘭克林•羅斯福(Franklin D. Roosevelt)而聞名。

在拿到博士學位以後,大衛•洛克菲勒成為了時任紐約市市長的菲奧雷洛•亨利•拉瓜迪亞(Fiorello H. La Guardia)的秘書,後者是一位好斗的、自由派的共和黨人士。他在1940年娶瑪格麗特•麥格拉斯(Margaret McGrath)為妻,後者是他在七年前的一場舞會上認識的,當時他還是哈佛大學的新生,而她則是紐約市查賓學校(Chapin School)的學生。他的妻子是一位全心全意的自然資源保護論者,已于1996年去世,享年80歲。兩人育有六名子女︰小大衛、艾比、妮娃、瑪格麗特、理查德和艾琳。

大衛•洛克菲勒在1942年入伍,進入美國陸軍服役。他參加了軍官培訓學校,二戰期間曾在北非和法國戰場上服役。到1945年,他以上尉身份退役。

到1946年,他開始了自己作為一名銀行家的職業生涯,最開始擔任的是Chase National Bank銀行的一名助理經理,隨後這家銀行在1955年與Bank of Manhattan Company合並,從而組建了大通曼哈頓銀行。在戰後時代的初期,銀行業是一份很有身份的職業,業內高管可以照料自己的外部利益,利用社會聯系人來培植客戶,同時讓那些初級銀行家來處理日常的管理事務。大衛•洛克菲勒找到了充裕的時間來從事這些活動。到二十世紀四十年代末,他取代了其母成為了紐約市現代藝術博物館董事會的成員,並最終出任董事會主席,當時他很喜歡招攬那些藝術品收藏家。在1968年,他整合了一個辛迪加,其成員包括其兄尼爾森和哥倫比亞廣播公司(CBS)董事長威廉•佩利(William S. Paley)等人,一舉收購了美國作家和詩人格特魯德•斯泰因(Gertrude Stein)的藝術收藏品。大衛•洛克菲勒和妻子瑪格麗特•麥格拉斯•洛克菲勒自己最珍愛的畫作——其中包括塞尚、高更、馬蒂斯和畢加索等人的作品——則已永久性地借給了紐約市現代藝術博物館。

全球擴張

大衛•洛克菲勒在銀行業中的崛起之快不可謂不快。到1961年時,他就已經成為了大通曼哈頓銀行的總裁,並與時任該行董事長的喬治•錢皮恩(George Champion)聯手擔任聯席首席執行官。大衛•洛克菲勒提倡海外擴張的觀點與錢皮恩相左,後者認為該行的美國國內市場才是更加重要的。在他于1969年取代錢皮恩出任大通曼哈頓銀行的該行董事長,並成為該行唯一的首席執行官之後,他就將這家銀行的“足跡”擴展到了幾乎每塊大陸。他曾說道,他的個人外交“品牌”——也就是與各國首腦會面——對于推進該行的利益來說是至關重要的。

“有很多人都宣稱這些活動是不合適的,妨礙了我管理這家銀行的職責。”大衛•洛克菲勒在其自傳中寫道。“對這種觀點我是絕對無法認同的。”他堅持聲稱,其“所謂的‘外部活動’給這家銀行帶來了相當大的利益,無論是從財務方面還是從其全球聲望方面來說都是如此”。

到1976年,大通曼哈頓銀行的總運營利潤為1.05億美元,而該行旗下國際部門所貢獻的運營利潤已在其中佔據了高達80%的比重。然而,這種數據未能證明大衛•洛克菲勒對于海外擴張的熱望的正確性,而是凸顯了大通曼哈頓銀行美國國內業務落後于其他銀行的表現。從1974年到1976年之間,該行的盈利下降了36%,而其最大的一些競爭對手——美國銀行、花旗集團、Manufacturers Hanover和J.P.摩根公司(J.P. Morgan)等——的同期盈利則實現了12%到31%的增長。

1974年時發生的經濟衰退給大通曼哈頓銀行帶來了重創,當時這家銀行在低迷的不動產行業中擁有龐大的貸款組合。另外,與其他任何一家銀行相比,該行在二十世紀七十年代中期所持有的紐約相關證券都要更多,而在那時紐約市正處在破產的邊緣。與此同時,大通曼哈頓銀行的不良貸款組合也是所有大型銀行中規模最大的。

大通曼哈頓銀行還在1974年卷入了一樁丑聞。據當時進行的內部審計顯示,該行的債券交易賬戶被高估了3400萬美元,並發現相關損失被少報了。其結果是,該行的淨利潤因此而損耗了1500萬美元,其形象也受到了破壞。到1975年,美聯儲和貨幣監理署將大通曼哈頓銀行認定為一家“問題”銀行。

盡管在那時大衛•洛克菲勒正竭力試圖扭轉大通曼哈頓銀行的滑坡局勢,但他還是抽出身來解決了紐約市的財務問題。他參與市政事務的時間最早可以回溯到二十世紀六十年代初期,當時他作為“市中心-下曼哈頓協會”(Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association)的創始人及主席建議該市應修建一座世界貿易中心。

在1961年,大通曼哈頓銀行在華爾街區域開設了64層樓高的總部,而這一行動主要是由于受到了大衛•洛克菲勒的股東。這筆大規模投資起到了幫助這個金融區域復興的作用,並鼓勵了世界貿易中心項目的實行。

到二十世紀七十年代中期,紐約市由于遲滯的經濟增長和不受控制的市政開支而面臨著違約風險,這時候大衛•洛克菲勒挺身而出,幫助聯邦政府、紐約州政府和紐約市政府的官員與該市的商界領袖聯合到了一起,制定出了一項經濟計劃,最終使得紐約市擺脫了那場危機。

與此同時,他還理順了大通曼哈頓銀行的事務,使其恢復了秩序。到1981年時,他和他的“門徒”維拉德•布徹(Willard C. Butcher)已經帶領這家銀行恢復到了完全健康的狀態。同年,他將董事會主席的位子讓給了布徹。

在1976年到1980年之間,這家銀行的盈利增長了一倍以上,其在資產回報率方面的表現優于主要競爭對手花旗銀行,這是對銀行盈利來說至關重要的一項指標。不過,即使是在1981年退休並不再活躍從事該行的管理事務之後,大衛•洛克菲勒還是繼續擔任其國際顧問委員會的主席職務,同時還充當這家銀行的外交家角色。對于他眼中美國政府官員所采取的錯誤政策,他總是會毫不猶豫地加以批評。

大衛•洛克菲勒尤其是對前任美國總統卡特更為苛刻。在1980年,他在接受《華盛頓郵報》采訪時表示,卡特沒有去做“那些其他大多數國家自己都會去做、而且預計我們也會去做的事情——那就是讓美國的國家利益成為我們首要的國際目標”。

不過,對于卡特的繼任者、與卡特相比遠為保守的美國前總統羅納德•里根(Ronald Reagan),他同樣也扮演了“牛虻”的角色。當里根政府支持非洲的反馬克思主義游擊隊時,他在1982年巡回造訪了非洲大陸上的10個國家,宣稱非洲馬克思主義對于美國本身或是美國的商業利益來說都並不是什麼威脅。

到了晚年,大衛•洛克菲勒卷入了有關洛克菲勒中心的爭論,這座裝飾藝術風格的辦公大廈是其父在二十世紀三十年代建造起來的。在1985年,洛克菲勒家族以13億美元的價格抵押了這幢大廈,由此而得的收入估計為3億美元左右。到1989年,洛克菲勒家族將洛克菲勒集團(Rockefeller Group)的51%股份出售給了日本三菱地所公司(Mitsubishi Estate Company),該集團擁有洛克菲勒中心及其他建築物。隨後,三菱地所將其持股比例提高到了80%。

這項收購交易標志著日本企業收購美國物業的浪潮達到了高峰,同時也使得洛克菲勒家族面臨批評,被指將一個重要的國家標志出售給了日本企業。當日本的經濟泡沫在二十世紀九十年代初破裂時,三菱地所被迫于1995年宣布洛克斐勒中心破產,當時大衛•洛克菲勒再度遭到了批評,這一次則是被指責任由這座大廈滑入了財務毀滅的深淵。

而就在同年年底以前,大衛•洛克菲勒就組建起了一個辛迪加,收購了洛克菲勒中心的控股權。隨後,這座大廈在2000年以18.5億美元的價格被出售,從而切斷了其與洛克菲勒家族之間的聯系。

大衛•洛克菲勒的身家在2012年時達到了27億美元,那時候已是耄耋之年的他日益投身于慈善事業,尤其是向哈佛大學、紐約現代藝術博物館和洛克菲勒大學——由約翰•洛克菲勒創立于1901年——捐贈了數千萬美元。

即便是在九十多歲高齡的時候,大衛•洛克菲勒工作起來的勁頭也仍舊會令年輕得多的人望而生畏。每年有一半以上的時間,他都會代表大通曼哈頓銀行或是外交關系委員會(Council on Foreign Relations)和三邊委員會(Trilateral Commission)等組織出行。在2005年,他曾在洛克菲勒中心的辦公室里接受采訪,那時候他的身體狀況仍舊很好,還會在該中心的健身俱樂部里跟一名助理教練一起鍛煉身體。

他還是在繼續收藏藝術品,其中包括數以百計的畫作以及有色玻璃、瓷器、木化石和家具等各種藝術作品。

同年,他承諾將向紐約現代藝術博物館捐獻1億美元的遺產。從整個社會的層面上來看,他的這種善舉起到了一種激勵作用。在2005年,現代藝術博物館曾舉行過一次聚集了各界名流的籌款活動,此次活動吸引了850人以最高9萬美元的價格購買一張桌子。那次活動是在他90歲大壽之際舉辦的,到活動結束時他收到了一個生日蛋糕作為禮物,那個蛋糕是以他在緬因州的房子為模型而制作的。

在2002年撰寫自傳《回憶錄》一書時,時年87歲的大衛•洛克菲勒成為了洛克菲勒家族三代人里第一個出版自傳的人。在被問及為何要寫這本書的時候,他以其特有的矜持語調回答道︰“這個嘛,我只是想到我的人生相當有趣而已。”

《紐約時報》訃告原文如下︰

David Rockefeller, Philanthropist and Head of Chase Manhattan, Dies at 101

David Rockefeller, the banker and philanthropist with the fabled family name who controlled Chase Manhattan bank for more than a decade and wielded vast influence around the world even longer as he spread the gospel of American capitalism, died on Monday morning at his home in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. He was 101.

A family spokesman, Fraser P. Seitel, confirmed the death.

Chase Manhattan had long been known as the Rockefeller bank, though the family never owned more than 5 percent of its shares. But Mr. Rockefeller was more than a steward. As chairman and chief executive throughout the 1970s, he made it “David’s bank,” as many called it, expanding its operations internationally.

His stature was greater than any corporate title might convey, however. His influence was felt in Washington and foreign capitals, in the corridors of New York City government, art museums, great universities and public schools.

Mr. Rockefeller could well be the last of an increasingly less visible family to have cut so imposing a figure on the world stage. As a peripatetic advocate of the economic interests of the United States and of his own bank, he was a force in global financial affairs and in his country’s foreign policy. He was received in foreign capitals with the honors accorded a chief of state.

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He was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the tycoon who founded the Standard Oil Company in the 19th century and built a fortune that made him America’s first billionaire and his family one of the richest and most powerful in the nation’s history.

As an heir to that legacy, Mr. Rockefeller lived all his life in baronial splendor and privilege, whether in Manhattan (as a boy he and his brothers would roller-skate along Fifth Avenue trailed by a limousine in case they grew tired) or at his magnificent country estates.

Imbued with the understated manners of the East Coast elite, he loomed large in the upper reaches of a New York social world of glittering black-tie galas. His philanthropy was monumental, and so was his art collection, a museumlike repository of some 15,000 pieces, many of them masterpieces, some lining the walls of his offices 56 floors above the streets at Rockefeller Center, to which he repaired, robust and active, well into his 90s.

In silent testimony to his power and reach was his Rolodex, a catalog of some 150,000 names of people he had met as a banker-statesman. It required a room of its own beside his office.

Spread out below that corporate aerie was a city he loved and influenced mightily. He was instrumental in rallying the private sector to help resolve New York City’s fiscal crisis in the mid-1970s. As chairman of the Museum of Modern Art for many years — his mother had helped found it in 1929 — he led an effort to encourage corporations to buy and display art in their office buildings and to subsidize local museums. And as chairman of the New York City Partnership, a coalition of business executives, he fostered innovation in public schools and the development of thousands of apartments for lower-income and middle-class families.

He was always aware of the mystique surrounding the Rockefeller name.

“I have never found it a hindrance,” he once said with typical reserve. “Obviously, there are times when I’m aware that I’m treated differently. There’s no question that having financial resources, which, thanks to my parents, I learned to use with some restraint and discretion, is a big advantage.”

Ambassador for Business

With his powerful name and his zeal for foreign travel — he was still traveling to Europe into his late 90s — Mr. Rockefeller was a formidable marketing force. In the 1970s his meetings with Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union and Zhou Enlai of China helped Chase Manhattan become the first American bank with operations in those countries.

“Few people in this country have met as many leaders as I have,” he said.

Some faulted him for spending so much time abroad. He was accused of neglecting his responsibilities at Chase and failing to promote aggressive, visionary managers. Under his leadership Chase fell far behind its rival Citibank, then the nation’s largest bank, in assets and earnings. There were years when Chase had the most troubled loan portfolio among major American banks.

“In my judgment, he will not go down in history as a great banker,” John J. McCloy, a Rockefeller friend and himself a former Chase chairman, told The Associated Press in 1981. “He will go down as a real personality, as a distinguished and loyal member of the community.”

His forays into international politics also drew criticism, notably in 1979, when he and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger persuaded President Jimmy Carter to admit the recently deposed shah of Iran into the United States for cancer treatment. The shah’s arrival in New York enraged revolutionary followers of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, provoking them to seize the United States Embassy in Iran and hold American diplomats hostage for more than a year. Mr. Rockefeller was assailed as well for befriending autocratic foreign leaders in an effort to establish and extend his bank’s presence in their countries.

“He spent his life in the club of the ruling class and was loyal to members of the club, no matter what they did,” The New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote in 2002, citing the profitable deals Mr. Rockefeller had cut with “oil-rich dictators,” “Soviet party bosses” and “Chinese perpetrators of the Cultural Revolution.”

Still, presidents as ideologically different as Mr. Carter and Richard M. Nixon offered him the post of Treasury secretary. He turned them both down.

After the death in 1979 of his older brother Nelson A. Rockefeller, the former vice president and four-time governor of New York, David Rockefeller stood almost alone as the remaining family member with an outsize national profile. Only Jay Rockefeller, a great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, had earned prominence as a governor and United States senator from West Virginia. No one from the family’s younger generations has attained or perhaps aspired to David Rockefeller’s stature.

“No one can step into his shoes,” Warren T. Lindquist, a longtime friend, told The Times in 1995, “not because they aren’t good, smart, talented people, but because it’s just a different world.”

A Privileged Life

The youngest of six siblings, David Rockefeller was born in Manhattan on June 12, 1915. His father, John D. Rockefeller Jr., the only son of the oil titan, devoted his life to philanthropy. His mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was the daughter of Nelson Aldrich, a wealthy senator from Rhode Island.

Besides Nelson, born in 1908, the other children were Abby, who was born in 1903 and died in 1976 after leading a private life; John D. Rockefeller III, who was born in 1906 and immersed himself in philanthropy until his death in an automobile accident in 1978; Laurance, born in 1910, who was an environmentalist and died in 2004; and Winthrop, born in 1912, who was governor of Arkansas and died in 1973.

David, the youngest, grew up in a mansion at 10 West 54 Street, the largest private residence in the city at the time. It bustled with valets, parlor maids, nurses and chambermaids. For dinner every night his father dressed in black tie and his mother in a formal gown.

Summers were spent at the 107-room Rockefeller “cottage” in Seal Harbor, Me., weekends at Kykuit, the family’s country compound north of the city in Tarrytown, N.Y. The estate was likened to a feudal fief. As Mr. Rockefeller wrote in his autobiography, “Memoirs” (2002), “Eventually the family accumulated about 3,400 acres that surrounded and included almost all of the little village of Pocantico Hills, where most of the residents worked for the family and lived in houses owned by Grandfather.”

In that bucolic setting he developed a fascination for insects that would lead to his building one of the largest beetle collections in the world.

David was 21 when John D. Rockefeller died. “He told amusing stories and sang little ditties,” Mr. Rockefeller recalled in 2002. “He gave us dimes.”

His sense of noblesse oblige was heightened by his early education at the experimental Lincoln School in Manhattan, founded by the American philosopher John Dewey and financed by the Rockefeller Foundation to bring together children from varied social backgrounds. He went on to study at Harvard, receiving his B.S. in 1936, and then spent a year at the London School of Economics, a hotbed of socialist intellectuals. Mr. Rockefeller was awarded a Ph.D in economics from the University of Chicago in 1940.

Moved by the Great Depression at home and abroad, he stated in his doctoral thesis that he was “inclined to agree with the New Deal that deficit financing during depressions, other things being equal, is a help to recovery.” The notion that a Rockefeller would take such a liberal economic view was major news; the family, rock-ribbed Republican, was known for its fierce opposition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal’s author.

After receiving his doctorate, Mr. Rockefeller became a secretary to Fiorello H. La Guardia, New York’s pugnacious, liberal Republican mayor. In 1940, he married Margaret McGrath, known as Peggy, whom he had met at a dance seven years earlier, when he was a Harvard freshman and she was a student at the Chapin School in New York. His wife, a dedicated conservationist, died at 80 in 1996. They had six children: David Jr., Abby, Neva, Margaret, Richard and Eileen. A complete list of his survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. Rockefeller enlisted in the Army in 1942, attended officer training school and served in North Africa and France in World War II. He was discharged a captain in 1945.

He began his banking career in 1946 as an assistant manager with the Chase National Bank, which merged in 1955 with the Bank of Manhattan Company to become Chase Manhattan. Banking in the early postwar era was a gentleman’s profession. Top executives could attend to outside interests, using social contacts to cultivate clients, while leaving day-to-day management to junior officers. Mr. Rockefeller found plenty of time for such activities. In the late 1940s he replaced his mother on the Museum of Modern Art’s board and eventually became its chairman. He courted art collectors. In 1968, he put together a syndicate, including his brother Nelson and the CBS chairman, William S. Paley, to buy Gertrude Stein’s collection of modern art. David and Peggy Rockefeller’s own prized paintings — by C zanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso — were lent to the museum permanently.

Expanding a Bank Globally

Mr. Rockefeller’s rise in banking was swift. By 1961 he was president of Chase Manhattan and its co-chief executive with George Champion, the chairman. Promoting expansion overseas, Mr. Rockefeller clashed with Mr. Champion, who thought that the bank’s domestic business was more important. After Mr. Rockefeller replaced Mr. Champion as chairman and sole chief executive in 1969, he was able to enlarge the bank’s presence on almost every continent. He said his brand of personal diplomacy, meeting with heads of state, was crucial in furthering Chase’s interests.

“There were many who claimed these activities were inappropriate and interfered with my bank responsibilities,” Mr. Rockefeller wrote in his autobiography. “I couldn’t disagree more.” His “so-called outside activities,” he insisted, “were of considerable benefit to the bank both financially and in terms of its prestige around the world.”

By 1976, Chase Manhattan’s international arm was contributing 80 percent of the bank’s $105 million in operating profit. But instead of vindicating Mr. Rockefeller’s avidity for banking abroad, those figures underlined Chase’s lagging performance at home. From 1974 to 1976 its earnings fell 36 percent, while those of its biggest rivals — Bank of America, Citibank, Manufacturers Hanover and J.P. Morgan — rose 12 to 31 percent.

The 1974 recession hammered Chase, which had an unusually large portfolio of loans in the depressed real estate industry. It also owned more New York-related securities than any other bank in the mid-1970s, when the city was edging toward bankruptcy. And among major banks, Chase had the largest portfolio of nonperforming loans.

Chase also got caught up in a scandal in 1974. An internal audit discovered that its bond trading account was overvalued by $34 million and that losses had been understated. A resulting $15 million drain in net income tarnished the bank’s image. In 1975, the Federal Reserve and the comptroller of the currency branded Chase a “problem” bank.

Even as he struggled to reverse Chase Manhattan’s decline, Mr. Rockefeller found time to address New York City’s financial problems. His involvement in municipal affairs dated to the early 1960s, when, as founder and chairman of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, he recommended that a World Trade Center be built.

In 1961, largely at his instigation, Chase opened its 64-story headquarters in the Wall Street area, a huge investment that helped revitalize the financial district and encouraged the World Trade Center project to proceed.

In the mid-1970s, with New York City facing a default on its debts because of sluggish economic growth and uncontrolled municipal spending, Mr. Rockefeller helped bring together federal, state and city officials with New York business leaders to work out an economic plan that eventually pulled New York out of its crisis.

At the same time, he put his bank’s affairs in order. By 1981, he and his prot g  Willard C. Butcher had restored Chase Manhattan to full health. He yielded his chairmanship to Mr. Butcher that year.

From 1976 to 1980, the bank’s earnings more than doubled, and it outperformed its archrival, Citibank, in returns on assets, a critical indicator of a bank’s profitability. Even after retiring from active management in 1981, Mr. Rockefeller continued to serve Chase as chairman of its international advisory council and to act as the bank’s foreign diplomat. He did not hesitate to criticize United States officials for policies he considered mistaken.

He was notably harsh about President Carter. In 1980 he told The Washington Post that Mr. Carter had not done “what most other countries do themselves, and expect us to do — namely, to make U.S. national interests our prime international objective.”

But Mr. Rockefeller also played the gadfly to Mr. Carter’s far more conservative successor, President Ronald Reagan. When the Reagan administration was supporting anti-Marxist guerrillas in Africa, Mr. Rockefeller took a 10-nation tour of the continent in 1982 and declared that African Marxism was not a threat to the United States or to American business interests.

Late in life Mr. Rockefeller was involved in controversies over Rockefeller Center, the Art Deco office building complex his father built in the 1930s. In 1985, the Rockefeller family mortgaged the property for $1.3 billion, pocketing an estimated $300 million. In 1989, the family sold 51 percent of the Rockefeller Group, which owned Rockefeller Center and other buildings, to the Mitsubishi Estate Company of Japan. Mitsubishi later increased its share to 80 percent.

The purchase marked the high tide of a buying spree of American properties by Japanese corporations, and it opened the family to criticism that it had surrendered an important national symbol to them. When Japan’s economic bubble burst in the early 1990s, and Mitsubishi was forced to declare Rockefeller Center in bankruptcy in 1995, Mr. Rockefeller was criticized again, this time for allowing the site to slip into financial ruin.

Before the year ended, Mr. Rockefeller had put together a syndicate that bought control of Rockefeller Center. Then, in 2000, it was sold in a $1.85 billion deal that severed the center’s last ties with the Rockefeller family.

As an octogenarian, Mr. Rockefeller, whose fortune was estimated in 2012 at $2.7 billion, increasingly devoted himself to philanthropy, donating tens of millions of dollars in particular to Harvard, the Museum of Modern Art and the Rockefeller University, which John D. Rockefeller Sr. founded in 1901.

Even in his 90s, Mr. Rockefeller continued to work at a pace that would tire a much younger person. He traveled more than half the year on behalf of Chase or groups like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. By 2005, when he was interviewed in his offices at Rockefeller Center, he had remained physically active, working with a trainer at the center’s sports club.

He continued to collect art, including hundreds of paintings as well as works in colored glass, porcelain, petrified wood and furniture.

That same year he pledged a $100 million bequest to the Museum of Modern Art. Such giving became grist for the society pages. One celebrity-filled fund-raising gala at the museum in 2005 drew 850 people paying as much as $90,000 for a table. The occasion was Mr. Rockefeller’s 90th birthday, and at the end of the evening he was presented with a birthday cake modeled after his house in Maine. Then it was off to a week in southern France to continue the celebration with 21 members of his family.

With the book “Memoirs” in 2002, he became, at age 87, the first in three generations of Rockefellers to publish an autobiography. Asked why he wrote it, he replied in his characteristic reserved tone, “Well, it just occurred to me that I had led a rather interesting life.”

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