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


Mr. David-Weill was sometimes known as the “Sun King.” “All the things revolved around Michel at Lazard,” William D. Cohan, the creator 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 gave the look of essentially 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 chairman in 1985 and have become 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.” Somewhat, he said, he remembered a peaceful, polite man who thrived in one-on-one settings.

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

“He fought a variety of battles,” said Virginie Morgon, the chief executive of Eurazeo, adding: “The battle that he fought against Bruce Wasserstein was probably the hardest one, because that was his legacy, and he had to go away the bank. But that 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 quite a few cultural institutions, including as a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Along with his wife, Mr. David-Weill is survived by 4 daughters, Béatrice, Natalie, Cécile and Agathe, and 11 grandchildren.

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