History

Origins: A multinational perspective
Early Growth: A business based on relationships
The 20th Century: A culture of accomplishment
The 21st Century: Evolving with clients

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Origins: A multinational perspective

Lazard's roots began in the 1840s with the emigration of five French brothers and several cousins to the United States. In 1848, Alexandre, Lazare, and Simon Lazard founded Lazard Frères & Co. in New Orleans as a dry goods merchant.  By 1851, Lazard Frères had moved to San Francisco, where it would expand into banking and foreign exchange. In the same year, one of the brothers opened a New York office.
 

In 1854, Lazard Frères opened an office in Paris. It soon began advising the French government on gold buying.  In 1870 the family opened an office in London. 

 

1848 Alexandre, Lazare, and Simon Lazard, brothers from France, establish Lazard Frères as a dry goods business in New Orleans
1851 Simon Lazard, with two other brothers, Maurice and Elie, move Lazard Frères to San Francisco. Alexandre Lazard opens an office in New York City
1854 Alexandre Lazard moves to Paris and establishes Lazard Frères et Cie
1850s Lazard Frères begins to engage in banking activities
1848 1851 1854 1850s

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Early Growth: A business based on relationships

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the firm evolved into three "Houses of Lazard" in the United States, France, and England-separately managed but allied. The Lazard partners advised clients on financial matters and enhanced their cross-border network of relationships in business and government.
 

An early cross-border success came in 1928, when the French office partnered with American investors to purchase and expand the financing arm of Citroen, the French automaker. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Lazard mobilized its network again to help save Citroen from bankruptcy.

1876 The Banking House of Lazard Frères is formally established as a family-run firm with a head office in Paris (Lazard Frères et Cie) and a branch in San Francisco
1877 The bank opens a London branch office, called Lazard Brothers, and begins to establish correspondent offices around the world
1880 The New York City branch of The Banking House of Lazard Frères is established
1876 1877 1880

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The 20th Century: A culture of accomplishment

In the economic recovery following World War II, Lazard solidified its role as trusted advisor to business and government leaders.
 

Some of the greatest names in 20th century finance established and enhanced Lazard's reputation, including André Meyer, widely regarded as a genius of investment banking; Michel David-Weill, who oversaw the firm's transformation into a mergers and acquisitions powerhouse; and Felix Rohatyn, whose many accomplishments include his pivotal role in saving New York City from bankruptcy in 1975.
 

In the latter part of the century, Lazard expanded into new markets around the world, becoming a global force in financial advisory and asset management services. Lazard was central to some of the largest and most challenging transactions of that time.
 

As the firm grew, Lazard fostered a unique culture that encourages individual initiative and discourages bureaucracy. This culture continues to attract some of the most talented, high-achieving professionals in finance. 

 

 

1919 U.K. restrictions on foreign ownership force Lazard to sell controlling stake of London branch. The firm effectively becomes three houses: Lazard Frères et Cie, Lazard Frères & Co. (Lazard New York), and Lazard Brothers
1933 Lazard New York ceases commercial banking activities after enactment of the Glass-Steagall Act, and commits to financial advisory services
1953 Lazard Investors Ltd begins asset management operations in London
1970 Lazard Asset Management is formed
1984 A new entity, Lazard Partners, is formed to control the three Houses of Lazard
1919 1933 1953 1970 1984

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The 21st Century: Evolving with clients

As world commerce grew more tightly integrated, it became clear that Lazard's organization needed to change in order to serve clients even more effectively. In 2000, after more than 150 years of separate management, the Houses of Lazard were formally united into a single entity. In 2005, under the leadership of Bruce Wasserstein, Lazard became a public company, with nearly two-thirds of its shares owned by current and former employees. Since November 2009, Kenneth M. Jacobs has led the firm. 

 

Lazard's history is engrained in its culture. To this day, Lazard operates as a local firm in local markets but offers clients the benefit of multinational access and global perspective. It is a firm built on personal relationships. It is a firm that prizes individuality and creative thinking. Most significantly, the services it provides to clients continue to stem from a common root: advice.

 

 

2000 The Houses of Lazard unite to form Lazard LLC
2005 After 157 years as a private partnership, Lazard becomes a public firm, listing on the New York Stock Exchange as LAZ
Today Still expanding its global network of relationships, Lazard has offices in 41 cities across 26 countries
2000 2005 Today