Fortune magazine deemed him "the most important investment banker in the Western world." A ferociously energetic, charming, and ruthless businessman, he had, by the age of forty, helped save the foundering auto giant CitroEn, established France's first consumer finance company, and been awarded the Legion of Honor. He was a trusted adviser of the Kennedys and an intimate of Lyndon Johnson, William Paley, and Katharine Graham. His numerous business accomplishments included the building or revitalizing of such corporate giants as Avis, Holiday Inns, Warner-Lambert, and Engelhard Minerals & Chemicals. One of the world's savviest individual investors, he amassed a personal fortune of well over $200 million, yet to his dying day never gave up the search for the ultimate buck.
AndrE Meyer, "The Picasso of Banking," was all this--and much more. A man of seemingly endless contradictions, he was respected and admired by many, scorned and disliked by many others. In this riveting, classic biography, renowned author and National Book Award finalist Cary Reich skillfully captures the many facets of this colorful and complex figure, painting an illuminating and captivating portrait of an enigmatic icon who climbed his way from modest beginnings to become what David Rockefeller called "the most creative financial genius of our time in the investment banking world."
Born in 1898 in Paris, AndrE Benoit Mathieu Meyer was saddled with adult responsibilities early on, having to provide for his family when his father, an inveterate gambler, "left a vacuum at the head of the household." After getting his professional start at a small Paris bank, he quickly caught the attention of the eminent private banking firm Lazard FrEres, whose prestigious ranks he joined in 1925. Within a year, Meyer was made partner.
With the advent of World War II, Meyer was forced into exile by the Nazi occupation. Resettling in the United States, he took over Lazard's New York operation, building it into the most venturesome investment bank in America. During the 1940s and 1950s, when industry was thirsting for capital for its relentless growth, he financed anything and everything from Texas ranchland to New York City real-estate projects. In the sixties, when it became clear the big corporations could get bigger only by gobbling up other corporations, Meyer masterfully got the merger-and-acquisition ball rolling, and became the world's most prolific marriage broker for countless corporate combinations.
Financier brilliantly captures Meyer's financial wizardry, a phenomenal talent that was tempered only by the volatile tantrums, ruthlessness, and insatiable greed that went hand in hand with his genius. Unveiling the dueling sides of his complex personality, this absorbing account shows Meyer at his best--as a father figure for the likes of Felix Rohatyn, his most famous protEgE, and for Jacqueline Onassis in the years after the assassination--and presents him at his worst--as a tortured and possessive father and a cruel, often vindictive boss.
Financier is a work that is as compelling, unforgettable, and monumental as its inimitable subject.
Railblazers Rediscovering the Pioneers of Business
Critical praise for Financier: The Biography of AndrE Meyer
"A first-rate biography of an extraordinary man." --Andrew Tobias
"A fascinating mix of financial history involving household names of the corporate scene, gossip at rarefied altitudes and big bucks. The focus is on people, mutual back-scratching, wheeling and dealing through the conglomerate jungle." --The Wall Street Journal.
"This book is fun to read. Mr. Reich, while prudently avoiding heavy legal and accounting exegesis, has a talent for the clear explanation of essential technical detail." --New York Times Book Review.
"Hard-edged and uncompromising . . . a lucid and well-researched account." --The New Republic.show more