Felix George Rohatyn (born May 29, 1928 in Vienna, Austria) was an American investment banker known for his role in preventing the bankruptcy of New York City in the 1970s, who also served as United States Ambassador to France. He was a long term advisor to the U.S. Democratic Party.
Rohatyn graduated from McBurney School NYC. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Middlebury College in Vermont (where he joined Alpha Sigma Phi) in 1949. In 1990, he received The Hundred Year Association of New York’s Gold Medal Award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York.” Rohatyn was also the recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence.
Rohatyn was United States Ambassador to France 1997-2000 during the second Clinton Administration and was a Commander in the French Legion of Honor. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Trustee for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
While serving as Ambassador to France, Rohatyn opened a series of small diplomatic missions, called American Presence Posts, in Rennes, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Lille which brought American diplomats into contact with the people and leaders of those cities at lower cost than traditional Consulates.
Rohatyn became widely known in the 1970s for successfully restructuring New York City’s debt and resolving the city’s fiscal crisis. While running MAC for the city of New York, Rohatyn continued his deal making at Lazard. While capping his take at the firm at 6%, Rohatyn continued to be the preeminent rainmaker at Lazard well into the 1990s, completing such deals as Sony’s acquisition of Columbia.
Rohatyn married the former Jeanette Streit in 1956 and divorced her in 1979. He then married the former Elizabeth Vagliano. He had three children.
Rohatyn passed away on December 14, 2019. His obituary can be found here.