Mr. David-Weill was sometimes nicknamed the “Sun King”. “It was all about Michel at Lazard,” William D. Cohan, author of “The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.” (2007), said in an interview.
Mr. Cohan worked at Lazard for six years. “To me, it seemed like the most interesting and mysterious place on Wall Street. Private partnership, above its weight, small, elite, prestigious,” he said. “It was like a Florentine guild.”
Ali Wambold, who joined Lazard as vice-chairman in 1985 and became a general partner in 1987, said Mr David-Weill “considered himself a gardener” and “wasn’t particularly ruthless or sharp-edged”. And Mr. Jacobs said, “I don’t remember him ever being imperious.” Rather, he said, he remembered a quiet, polite man who thrived in one-on-one situations.
After Lazard, Mr. David-Weill devoted himself to Eurazeo, the global investment company he created in Paris in 2001.
“He fought a lot of battles,” said Virginie Morgon, Eurazeo’s Chief Executive Officer, adding: “The battle he fought against Bruce Wasserstein was probably the hardest, because it was his legacy, and he had to leave the bank, but he is someone who has never looked back.
Beyond the office, Mr. David-Weill was a passionate philanthropist and patron of the arts with a celebrated collection. He has been involved in numerous cultural institutions, notably as a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Besides his wife, Mr. David-Weill is survived by four daughters, Béatrice, Natalie, Cécile and Agathe, and 11 grandchildren.