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The bankers that define the decades

For Euromoney's 50th anniversary issue, we picked out the six individual bankers that we believe define each of the decades of Euromoney’s existence. They are all giants of the industry. Their names transcend it.


Jamie Dimon is the banker of his generation. The secret of his success? Be a great banker but be an even better businessman. 


Realizing early on that banking was a business where scale mattered and diversification was essential, Emilio Botín turned a regional family firm from southern Europe into an unlikely new force in global banking. He was a master of the merger and trod a path that no other European bank has followed. But the pace of growth left challenges for the generation that followed.


Hilmar Kopper ran the bank that every other firm feared in the 1990s. He transformed Deutsche Bank from a conservative domestic business into a leading global financial institution. Just how far Deutsche has fallen today shows how far it rose under Kopper.


John Reed is a visionary. His ideas about global banking and transformative technology put him decades ahead of his time and set him apart from his peers as one of the leading bankers of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He rethought the business model of consumer banking: as a service built around customers’ whole lives that could be profitable for shareholders. He was a tech pioneer from early in his career, bringing the ATM to bank branches, driving the mass adoption of credit cards and building the biggest international network banking has ever known. Nineteen years on from his infamous ouster after a bruising battle with Sandy Weill, he still thinks deeply about the industry.


David Rockefeller used the power of his family name and his platform as head of Chase Manhattan Bank to push globalization in an era where the world was fractured on political and geographic lines. He had his flaws as a banker. But his vision – that banking could be a force for good – was ahead of its time and one that the current generation of bank leaders has since embraced.


Sir Siegmund Warburg may not have liked this article. After all, although he was not half as hostile towards the media as is commonly believed, he did not care much for Euromoney. When he fell out with the magazine a little more than a year after its launch, the spat said rather more about Siegmund Warburg than it did about Euromoney itself.

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