Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, OM, GBE (born 29 April 1936) is a British investment banker, philanthropist and a member of the prominent Rothschild family of Jewish bankers.
He was educated at Eton College and then at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took a First in History.
He worked for the family bank NM Rothschild and Sons in London, before resigning in 1980 due to a family dispute. The chairmanship of the bank had not been passed on to his father, who had chosen to follow a scientific career, but was held by his cousin Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, and Jacob felt that his aspirations would be thwarted by this setup. He then established his own successful investment business, now RIT Capital Partners plc, an investment trust listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Sunday Times Rich List 2004 estimated his personal fortune at £398m.
In 1961, he married Serena Mary Dunn, the granddaughter of Canadian financier Sir James Dunn, and has one son and heir Nathaniel Philip Victor James Rothschild and three daughters, Hannah Rothschild, Beth Rothschild and Emily Rothschild.
He was appointed a member of the Order of Merit in 2002.
After resigning from NM Rothschild and Sons Jacob Rothschild built a series of highly successful companies in insurance, banking and investment including Five Arrows, St James's Place Capital, which he ran with Sir Mark Weinberg, and J Rothschild Assurance. In 1989 he joined forces with Sir James Goldsmith and Kerry Packer, in an unsuccessful bid for British American Tobacco. His main business interest now is RIT Capital Partners plc, an investment management company with a portfolio of £700m, and he retains many other venture capital and property interests. On 17 November 2003 he took up a post as Deputy Chariman of BSkyB.
From his headquarters in St James's Place in London Jacob Rothschild has cultivated an influential set of clients, business associates and friends who have extended his interests far beyond the normal scope of a banker.
He was a close personal friend of the late Diana, Princess of Wales and maintains strong personal and business links with Henry Kissinger.
His country estate has been a regular venue for visiting heads of state including Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Margaret Thatcher received French President François Mitterrand there at a summit in 1990. He hosted the European Economic Round Table conference in 2002, attended by such figures as James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, Nicky Oppenheimer, Warren Buffet and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He has also developed strong business interests in Russia and is a friend of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and a trustee of the Open Russia Foundation, a UK based entity founded in 2001 as the charitable arm of YUKOS.
Philanthropy and charity
Lord Rothschild has played a prominent part in Arts philanthropy in Britain. He was Chairman of Trustees of the National Gallery from 1985 to 1991, and from 1992 to 1998 chairman of the British National Heritage Memorial Fund. From 1994 to 1998 he was chairman of the British National Heritage Lottery Fund responsible for distributing the proceeds of the National Lottery to the heritage sector, and influential post which oversaw the distribution of £1.2 billion.
He was especially active in the project to restore Somerset House in London, for which he helped secure the Gilbert Collection and ensured the long-term future of the Courtauld Institute of Art. As a private project he carried out the restoration of Spencer House, one of the finest surviving 18th century London townhouses, adjacent to his own offices.
In 1988 he inherited from his aunt, Dorothy de Rothschild, the Waddesdon and Eythrope estates in Buckinghamshire, and began a close association with Waddesdon Manor, the house and grounds which were bequeathed to the National Trust in 1954 by his uncle, James A. de Rothschild. He has been a major benefactor of the restoration of Waddesdon Manor through a private family charitable trust, and in an unusual arrangement, has been given authority by the National Trust to run Waddesdon Manor as a semi-independent operation.
In 1993 he joined with John Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury of Preston Candover to set up the Butrint Foundation to record and conserve the archaeological site of Butrint in Albania, close to his holiday home on Corfu.
Lord Rothschild has also followed the Rothschild family's charitable interests in Israel and is the chairman of Yad Hanadiv, the family foundation which gave the Knesset and the Supreme Court buildings to Israel. He is also President of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
Prominent English Rothschild family members
- History of the Jews in England