Rothschild names first non-family chief executive

LONDON Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:54pm IST

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LONDON Feb 10 (Reuters) - Investment bank Rothschild said Nigel Higgins will take over as its chief executive next month, the first person outside the family to lead the banking dynasty as it reshapes its structure to pursue growth.

Higgins, 49, has been at Rothschild for 27 years and has jointly run its investment banking for a decade. He will be chief executive of the family holding company from March 1.

David de Rothschild will continue as executive chairman, but it marks the first split in the roles of chairman and CEO.

De Rothschild will be responsible for strategic issues and deal with major clients, while Higgins will oversee a broader management team to take on the day-to-day running of operations.

The new senior management group will comprise both Rothschild family and non-family members, the bank said.

Higgins will continue as co-head of investment banking with Olivier Pecoux.

Rothschild has a rich history in financing, dating back to 1769 when Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a dealer in coins, was appointed crown agent, and building up from Frankfurt, London, Paris, Vienna and Naples.

In 1815 five Rothschild brothers worked to supply gold to Wellington's army in the closing year of the Napoleonic Wars, and the family has played key roles in financing railways, Rio Tinto (RIO.L), de Beers and the Suez Canal.

Rothschild is now a leading advisory firm with over 900 investment bankers and offices in 36 countries.

De Rothschild said he and the English and French family shareholders remain committed to the bank. (Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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