David Rockefeller Biography

(Investment Banker, Chairman and Chief Executive of ‘Chase Manhattan Corporation’)

Birthday: June 12, 1915 (Gemini)

Born In: New York, New York, United States

David Rockefeller was an American banker and philanthropist, and also the oldest living member of the well-known Rockefeller family at the time of his death in March 2017. He served as a chairman and chief executive of the Chase Manhattan Corporation for several years. After completing his studies, he spent a few years in government service before joining the military during the World War II. During the war years he served for military intelligence, setting up political and economic intelligence units in France and North Africa. He began his banking career following the war. He joined the sector as an assistant manager in the foreign department of a bank and soon rose to the designations of an assistant cashier, then second vice president and finally the vice president. He was involved with the Council for Foreign Relations and the Centre for Inter-American Relations and it led to his interest in Latin American affairs and in foreign affairs in general. He was famous for his skills in international banking and was quite a familiar figure to the head of states and the global ministers. He died at the age of 101 in 2017 and was regarded as the world’s oldest billionaire at the time of his death.
Quick Facts


Spouse/Ex-: Peggy McGrath

father: John D. Rockefeller Jr.

mother: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller

siblings: Laurance Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller, Winthrop Rockefeller

children: Abby Rockefeller, David Rockefeller Jr., Eileen Rockefeller Growald, Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, Peggy Dulany, Richard Rockefeller

Bankers American Male

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males

Died on: March 20, 2017

place of death: Pocantico Hills, New York, United States

Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure

Notable Alumni: London School Of Economics

Grouping of People: Centenarian

U.S. State: New Yorkers

Founder/Co-Founder: Council of the Americas, Club of Rome, International Executive Service Corps, Council on Foreign Relations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, Americas Society, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Partnership for Ne

More Facts

education: Harvard University, University Of Chicago, London School Of Economics

awards: 1998 - Presidential Medal of Freedom
1945 - Legion of Merit
1943 - Public Welfare Medal
1965;1959;1935 - Richard A. Cook Gold Medal Award

  • 1

    What impact did David Rockefeller have on the banking industry?

    David Rockefeller played a key role in expanding Chase Manhattan Bank's global reach and influence, shaping the modern banking industry.

  • 2

    How did David Rockefeller contribute to philanthropy and charitable causes?

    David Rockefeller was a renowned philanthropist, supporting various educational, cultural, and healthcare initiatives through his family's foundations and charitable donations.
  • 3

    What was David Rockefeller's role in promoting international relations and diplomacy?

    David Rockefeller was known for his efforts in fostering international cooperation and understanding through various organizations and initiatives, promoting peace and stability globally.
  • 4

    How did David Rockefeller influence economic and financial policies in the United States?

    David Rockefeller's influence extended to shaping economic and financial policies in the U.S., advocating for free trade, financial stability, and market-oriented reforms.
  • 5

    What was David Rockefeller's perspective on environmental conservation and sustainability?

    David Rockefeller was a vocal advocate for environmental conservation and sustainable development, supporting initiatives to protect natural resources and address climate change challenges.

Childhood & Early Life
David Rockefeller was born on June 12, 1915 in the New York City and is the fifth and the youngest son of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller Jr.
He went to the Lincoln School of Columbia University’s Teachers College to receive his elementary as well as secondary education. He further got his graduation B.S degree in English, History and Literature from the Harvard University in 1936.
He completed his post-graduation in economics from the Harvard and the London School of Economics. In 1940, he got awarded with his Ph.D. in economics by the University of Chicago.
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David Rockefeller worked as a secretary to Fiorello H. LaGuardia, New York City Mayor and was also an assistant to the regional director of United States Office of Defence and Health and Welfare Services for a brief period of time.
He got enlisted to the U.S. Army post the bombing of Pearl Harbour. He served as an assistant military attache in Paris and served in France and North Africa respectively.
In 1945, he earned the rank of the captain and got discharged from his post. He was successful in his tenure and was awarded more than once for his diligence.
He joined the Chase National Bank in 1946 and began his career as a banker in the United States.
Soon in 1952, he rose through several ranks and got hold of the position of senior vice president in the bank. He expanded Chase’s business in the Latin America and also oversaw the merger of the Bank of Manhattan with Chase National in 1955.
In 1965, Rockefeller and other businessmen formed the Council of the Americas to stimulate and support economic integration between the North America and South America.
In 1969, David Rockefeller became the CEO and Chairman of the bank; he remained the CEO till 1980 and Chairman till 1981.
David Rockefeller retired in 1981 and at the time of his retirement he was a global leader in the domain of finance, foreign relations and public service.
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Philanthropic Works
Like his grandfather John Davison Rockefeller, Sr., David Rockefeller too was a great philanthropist and served equally in a number of fields including medicine, education and science.
In 1940, he served willingly in the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and also worked with the Detlev Bronk in 1960s with a goal to transform the institute into Rockefeller University, which was the first institution in the U.S. dedicated fully to biomedical research.
David was very much enthusiastic about the cultural development of Manhattan and he also served as one of the board of directors in the Museum of Modern Art. He also helped in developing the lower Manhattan while being the chairman of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association.
In 2008, he donated a whopping amount of $100 million to Harvard University, his alma mater. It was the largest of all donations that Harvard ever got from an alumnus.
Awards & Achievements
In 1945, David Rockefeller got the prestigious awards of U.S. Legion of Merit, French Legion of Honour and U.S. Army Commendation Ribbon for his commendable service in the U.S. Army during World War II.
In 1965, he was honoured with the Award of Merit by the American Institute of Architects.
In 1983, he received the International Leadership Award from the United States Council for International Business.
In 1994, he was honoured with World Monuments Fund's Hadrian Award for his contribution in the preservation of art and architecture.
Personal Life & Legacy
David Rockefeller married Margaret McGrath in 1940 and together they had six children, namely, David Jr., Abby, Neva, Peggy, Richard and Eileen. His wife died in 1996.
Rockefeller lived a long and healthy life. He died from congestive heart failure on March 20, 2017, at the age of 101.
Facts About David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller was an avid art collector and had a vast collection of pieces from renowned artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Warhol.
David Rockefeller was a passionate supporter of environmental conservation efforts and played a key role in the establishment of several national parks and protected areas.
He had a keen interest in promoting global economic development and was instrumental in founding organizations such as the Council of the Americas and the Partnership for New York City.
In addition to his business endeavors, David Rockefeller was also a dedicated philanthropist, donating millions to various causes including education, healthcare, and the arts.

See the events in life of David Rockefeller in Chronological Order

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