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Banking

People: Jeremy Isaacs - Chief executive, Lehman Brothers Europe

You only have to see Jeremy Isaacs's triangular-shaped office - which comfortably fits a boardroom-size conference table - at Lehman Brothers' Broadgate headquarters in London to realize that this is a man who's doing well. At 35, he's the youngest person to head an American investment bank in Europe.

by Philip Eade


But the affable Londoner's approachability is striking. "He's a real person," says one colleague. You are left in no doubt about his prodigious energy ("I try to do without sleep," he says), yet he also has the charm and unforced small talk to put even couch potatoes at ease.

Isaacs says he learned "the importance of being a good man" from his father, the founder of the General Portfolio life insurance company, which he later sold to the French insurer GAN. Then he stumbled on an industry which he adores: shortly after leaving school he was on holiday with his parents in America where he met a partner of Smith Brothers, who later invited him to visit the London Stock Exchange: "It was like an awakening," he recalls.

"I've always worked very hard because I've enjoyed doing it," he says. Work now includes an endless round of breakfasts and dinners with his staff. Whenever there's an office cocktail party, he makes sure he introduces himself to as many people as possible. "The way he operates is by inclusion," says one of his subordinates. "People feel like they're being listened to. He believes that if you push that down the chain, it becomes a way of life.


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