London Banker Henry Grunfeld Dies
LONDON (AP) _ Henry Grunfeld, a refugee from Nazi Germany who helped build S.G. Warburg into one of the most successful British financial enterprises of the post-World War II period, has died at age 95.
Grunfeld, who was still reporting to work as a senior adviser to Warburg Dillon Read, the successor firm to S.G. Warburg, died at home Thursday after a brief illness, his family said. No other details were disclosed.
In 1935, Grunfeld teamed with fellow German Jew and Nazi refugee Siegmund Warburg to establish the investment banking house that eventually became known as S.G. Warburg.
Preferring to remain in the background while his more gregarious and outgoing partner took the public stage, Grunfeld nevertheless played an equally essential role in the firm’s success.
The firm’s reputation was greatly enhanced in 1958 when it broke new ground in Britain by initiating the first hostile takeover bid _ of British Aluminum _ on behalf of the American group Reynolds and Tube Investments.
The London financial district was never the same again, and a host of new big businesses clients lined up to sign on with the firm.
Grunfeld was born into a Jewish industrial family in Breslau, Germany, now the Polish city of Wroclaw. He went to school in Berlin and studied law at the University of Breslau. His success in the family’s steel business earned him a respectable reputation in the German steel industry.
All that came to an end in 1934 when the Nazis seized the family fortune. Grunfeld was detained briefly and, after his release, went into hiding, eventually making his way to Britain.
The next year, he learned that fellow German exile Warburg was in London and was looking for someone with industrial experience to launch a new financial enterprise.
The two men formed the New Trading Co., which changed its name to S.G. Warburg in 1946. Their long association ended only with Warburg’s death in 1982.
Grunfeld became chairman of the firm when Warburg retired in 1964. He retired as chairman in 1974, but held the office of president until 1995, when the firm was acquired by Swiss Bank. He stayed on as senior adviser until his death.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Berta Lotte Oliven, in 1993, and a daughter in 1986. He is survived by a son.
A private funeral service was held.