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New wave of next-generation leaders take charge of global businesses

The appointment in April of Alexandre de Rothschild to the supervisory board of Rothschild & Co is the latest in an international wave of young family business scions seizing greater controls at the heart of their large, global family firms.

Alexandre, 37, becomes the seventh generation of the family in charge of the bank in a long-planned succession that sees his father, David de Rothschild, 75, become supervisory board chairman.

Alexandre joined the financial advisory group a decade ago to focus on merchant banking after working at other financial firms. Earlier, he worked in investment banking and private equity in New York and London with Bear Stearns and Bank of America.

“Rothschild & Co Group has grown into a global firm with three recognised and established businesses,” de Rothschild said in a statement.

“I am delighted and honoured to lead the talented team.”

Alexandre has appointed a new top management line-up. His priority: shoring up bank revenues after earnings from advising and financing clients on deals fell 20% to €262 million ($311 million) in the first quarter.

On the Asian front, steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal’s son Aditya Mittal (right), 42, is working “very closely” with his father to shape the fortunes of ArcelorMittal, the Indian steelmaker, and seeking strategic global opportunities rather than basic expansion.

ArcelorMittal in March announced the appointment of Aditya Mittal as president of the group in addition to his current role as chief financial officer and chief executive, signalling the global strategic role that Aditya will play in future, especially in the company’s bid to acquire Mumbai-based Essar Steel.

Aditya’s role stands in sharp contrast with Hugh Grosvenor (below), who became Britain’s youngest billionaire upon inheriting the title and the Grosvenor dynasty after the death of his father, the sixth Duke of Westminster, two years ago.

The duke, 27, has since found himself a key family figure within Grosvenor Group, an internationally diversified property organisation that operates in 62 cities. An accounts manager for green energy firm Bio-bean, he will likely draw on his science degree from Newcastle University and his experience in estate management at Grosvenor’s Wheatsheaf Investment Company, to help guide the centuries-old organisation.

Meanwhile, dark clouds are lifting over Lee Jae-yong, 50, vice chairman of technology giant Samsung Electronics Co, after he made a business trip to Europe in March. It was his first official activity since being released from prison over bribery and other charges linked to a corruption scandal that led to the ousting of former South Korean President Park Geun Hye.

Analysts familiar with Samsung say Lee’s priority should be a rethink of the company’s strategic direction, including expanding its businesses in mobile phones, memory chips, microchips, and screens.

Lee, heir apparent to the Samsung empire, has been making aggressive moves for Samsung, including selling defence affiliates to Hanwha Group and chemical assets to Lotte Group.

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