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Sun Dec 15, 2019, 08:32 PM

Felix Rohatyn, Wall Street wizard who helped save NYC from bankruptcy, dies at 91

Felix Rohatyn, whose finesse and dealmaking talents made him one of the most influential investment bankers of his era, who launched the boom in the mergers and corporate takeovers he came to loathe, and who was widely credited with saving New York City from bankruptcy in 1975, died Dec. 14 at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.

The death was confirmed by a son, Michael Rohatyn, who did not cite a specific cause.

Mr. Rohatyn (pronounced ROH-a-tin), who was born in Austria to a Jewish family prominent in business, spent a defining part of his childhood as a refugee from the Nazi advance across Europe. Intense, driven and discreet, he worked for almost his entire professional life as a banker and adviser to corporate clients at the New York firm of Lazard Frères & Co.

He socialized for decades at the nexus of financial and political power, counting leaders such as French President François Mitterrand and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as friends. His ambition to serve as treasury secretary in a Democratic administration was never fulfilled, but in 1997 Mr. Rohatyn succeeded socialite and Democratic Party fundraiser Pamela Harriman as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to France.


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