Billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller, former head of Chase Manhattan Corp and patriarch of one of the most famous and influential American families, died on Monday, a family spokesman said. He was 101.
Rockefeller, who reportedly gave away nearly $2 billion in his lifetime, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York, spokesman Fraser Seitel said in a statement.
One of the few remaining links to the U.S. “gilded” era of robber barons, he was the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., who developed New York’s Rockefeller Center, and was the last living grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and the family dynasty. He also embodied an era when globe-trotting bank chiefs worked with the world’s most powerful politicians.
During his time as head of Chase from 1969 to 1981, Rockefeller forged such a network of close relationships with governments and multinational corporations that observers said the bank had its own foreign policy.
The Rockefeller name came to symbolize unpopular U.S. banking policies in debtor countries, and Rockefeller was scorned on the left for working with Chile’s Augusto Pinochet and the shah of Iran.