Banking & finance
Schroder, Bruno (9 of 13) National Life Stories: City Lives
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1992 to 1994
Is part of (Collection)
Interviewee's office, London
Schroder, Bruno, 1933-, (speaker, male)
Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)
Part 9 (tape 5 side B): Further details re Piffa's background and education. Piffa a Catholic, agreement that if she and BS had a son he would be brought up a Protestant, and if a daughter a Catholic. Details of BS-Piffa courtship. Reasons why Piffa a suitable wife. BS needs notice to describe Piffa's personality fully. Wedding postponed because BS had to go and sort out problems in family-owned sugar factory in Argentina. Details of wedding. Memories of Princess Alice. Abel Smith family great friends of Schroder family. Honeymoon in Kenya, political connections in Kenya, recalled to Britain due to death of BS's father. Piffa had worked in art galleries, receptionist in modern gallery, social life attached to it, stopped working when married. First lived in BS's flat in Hyde Park Gardens, where Leonie born, then moved to Victoria Road. BS separated from wife soon after moving to Victoria Road. BS's role when father died. Gordon Richardson entrenched in restructuring bank by time BS returned from Harvard, BS's father President, Gordon Richardson Chairman, so father's death didn't make much difference to BS's position. In last 20 years personalities in bank have been key issues rather than structure changing. Gordon Richardson became Governor of Bank of England. BS wanted Jim Wolfensohn to become Chairman of Schroders. Wolfensohn an Australian Jew. Details of Wolfensohn. Darlings, merchant bank started by John Darling, 25% of which owned by Helmut Wagg which Schroders bought. Wolfensohn had been head of corporate finance at Darlings, Gordon Richardson offered Wolfensohn job in London, became Chief Executive of J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation. Wolfensohn Deputy Chairman of Schroder plc and Chief Executive, so was in running to succeed Wolfensohn. Michael Verey was Chairman and opposed Wolfensohn succeeding him. Verey very English person, concept that an Australian Jew could become head of Schroders anathema. Verey succeeded in pushing Wolfensohn out - details. BS could have caused major row about it - details, but didn't feel in a position to do so. Cousin, John Schroder, might have allowed family to be split and BS anxious to avoid this. BS and his sister and other family members held controlling amount of shares but only if united. BS didn't want a public row. Found situation extremely distressing, became more and more silent. Reaction to difficult situations throughout life. 1959, Gordon Richardson became Chief Executive and Schroders became public company - details. Merger with Helbert Wagg, investment bankers with little commercial banking interest - details. Schroders and Helbert Wagg had worked together against Hambros at time of British Aluminium scandal. Family sold 15% of shares in order to create a market to go public. Michael Verey came from Helbert Wagg. Financial incentive for Helbert Wagg to merge with Schroders.
Interview with Bruno Schroder, non-executive director of Schroders.