"A first-rate biography of an extraordinary man." --Andrew Tobias.
David Rockefeller once deemed Andre Meyer "the most creative financial genius of our time in the investment banking world." Andre Meyer was also known as "The Picasso of Banking" and "The Incomparable Investor," but probably his most notable achievement was his ability to completely and single-handedly revitalize American business after World War II. Cary Reich presents an illuminating portrait of this ferociously energetic, charming, and ruthless businessman who was a trusted advisor of the Kennedys and an intimate of William Paley and Katherine Graham. Reich goes into detail about Meyer's immigration from Nazi-occupied France, his prowess on the Monopoly board of business, and some of Meyer's lasting business legacies--now household names--including Avis and Holiday Inn.
* Includes a new foreword by Cary Reich.
Cary Reich (New York, New York) is the former executive editor of Institutional Investor. His most recent book, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Mr. Reich is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the Overseas Press Award and the John Hancock Award for Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism.
Sundry tales of celebrated Franco-American investment banker Andre Meyer (1898-1979) - set forth so as to crudely inflate and puncture "the Meyer mystique." Substantively, there is considerable detail on the convoluted ITT/Hartford-merger/Mediobanca affair (from SEC files), which finally tarnished Meyer's reputation; for gossip-mongers, there are some nasty tidbits about Jackie. Who, then, was Andre Meyer? "The totally self-made man, writ large"; "senior partner of the very private firm of Lazard Freres"; "one of the most outrageously successful venture capitalists of the postwar era"; "the world's most prolific corporate marriage broker"; intimate of the mighty, confidant/adviser/squire of beautiful women', "greedy, vindictive, domineering"; completely insecure; "an original." From interviews, financial journalist Reich has pieced together disconnected chapters on myriad Meyer/Lazard matters. He has only sketchy information on Meyer's pre-WW II French financial wizardry, and less than that on how he ousted the respected Frank Altschul to take over American Lazard. He does better on how Meyer cultivated Robert Lehman and other Wall Street titans to get Lazard a preferred position in underwriting syndicates; on his 1950s take-over deals with Ferdinand Eberstadt; the resurrection of Avis; William Zeckendorf and real estate. An occasional recollection rings bells. How did he always serve Giovanni Agnelli a perfect souffle, "no matter how long he and Meyer dawdled before sitting down to eat"? He had one slipped into the oven every five minutes. Jackie, it appears, was detested by the Meyer female menage at the Carlyle Hotel (which included, besides Mme. Meyer and other family members, various AM amours) - "particularly the breathless, little-girl-lost way in which she would implore Meyer, 'Andre, what should I do? I don't know what to do.'" (But he probably didn't draw up a pre-marital contract for her with Onassis; Reich's sources, moreover, don't think there was one.) Towards the last, the book gains some energy - with an ex-con/ex-conspirator's attempted revenge, the ITT matter and Meyer's interrogation, the onset of cancer, his unraveling family, Felix Rohatyn's non-succession. Trite and overextended - but with stretches of interest to Wall Street regulars, spots of Pocantico-to-Bed-Stuy interest for the merely curious. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Trailblazer Biographies (Hardcover)
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 23rd February 1998
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.62 x 15.8 x 2.16
Weight (kg): 0.55
Edition Number: 1