19:39 GMT26 February 2021
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    Benjamin de Rothschild, the billionaire heir of the French branch of the famous banking dynasty, died in January 2021 from a heart attack in Switzerland, where his family’s legendary Edmond de Rothschild Group is headquartered.

    Baroness Ariane de Rothschild – and not her late husband Benjamin – has been dubbed “the driving force” behind the banking business that her spouse inherited from his father Edmond back in 1997.

    As the president of the board of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, Ariane was the one who ensured the private Geneva bank stayed afloat – even before her husband's death – who had a history of heroin use, The Daily Mail notes.

    The baroness herself admitted in an interview with Tatler shortly before Benjamin’s death in January this year that banking takes up 70 percent of her time, “the rest is the rest,” she said.

    The “rest” includes managing her vineyards partnership and owning French fragrance brand House of Caron, which she bought and rejuvenated back in 2018.

    “I like to have an elastic brain,” Ariane told the magazine.

    ​According to the mother of four, it’s difficult for her to define her occupation because she's involved in so many ventures. 

    “I’ve always struggled to say exactly what I do. ‘Are you a banker? A baroness and housewife?’” she said. 

    But according to the media, she's the one who safeguarded her husband’s family’s banking legacy, as Benjamin de Rothschild's interest in the business wained over time. He inherited his father’s chair at Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild when he died in 1997.

    The company was then transformed under a new name – the Edmond de Rothschild Group – and went completely private as the group's French bank was integrated into the Swiss company.

    Since marrying into de Rothschild family in 1997, Ariane has always played a vital role in overseeing parts of the French dynasty’s businesses. In 2009, she was appointed vice-president of the LCF Edmond de Rothschild Group and made president of the Executive Committee in 2015, after the business had been renamed.  

    She admitted to Tatler that her husband was fine about her effectively being in charge of their activities.

    “He said to me, ‘At the end of the day, I am the smartest of them all, because I married a woman who is doing the job for me,’” she told Tatler, laughing. “My husband was a peculiar person, otherwise it wouldn’t have worked. He was original – fascinated by cars and speed and racing. He had an interior richness that goes way beyond what the family is about.”

    Benjamin de Rothschild died on 15 January from a heart attack. He and Ariane have four daughters together - Noémie, Alice, Eve, and Olivia, aged between 18 and 25.

    Edmond de Rothschild Group, Rothschild Bank AG, Switzerland
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