George Mallinckrodt, Former Chairman of Schroders, Dies at 90

George Mallinckrodt, who served as chairman of Schroders Plc as it grew into one of the City of London’s leading firms, has died. He was 90.

He died Saturday after a long illness, according to a statement from Schroders.

Mallinckrodt, known as Gowi, served as the firm’s executive chairman between 1984 and 1995. Together with then-chief executive officer Win Bischoff, he oversaw the expansion of the merchant bank and fund manager into a global operator while navigating Margaret Thatcher’s 1986 deregulation, known as the Big Bang.

“He was really the fellow who led it on to such a higher plane,” British financier Roger Gibbs said in 2002.

Today, Schroders is the U.K.’s largest stand-alone asset manager, with more than 5,000 employees and assets under management of 536 billion pounds ($726 billion) at the end of September.

Born in Cologne in 1930 into a long line of German traders and merchants, Mallinckrodt grew up in Germany and France before training at a merchant bank in Hamburg and Kleinwort Benson in London. The lure of Wall Street saw him join Schroders in New York in 1954.

Four years later, he married Charmaine Schroder, the great-great granddaughter of John Henry Schroder, who co-founded the Schroders businesses in 1804. The couple had four children.

He moved to London in 1960 to build out the firm’s European business, joined the board of Schroders in 1977 and became chairman and chief executive officer of the firm’s U.S. operations in 1983. A year later, he teamed up with Bischoff.

“We were sitting on the same motorbike, as it were, we had fantastic harmony,” Mallinckrodt said in a 2008 interview with the Financial Times.

The pair expanded the firm’s investment banking and investment management businesses, exited commercial banking and life insurance, and built Schroder Ventures, which was rebranded Permira in 2001 and remains one of Europe’s leading private-equity firms.

While he stepped back from day-to-day management in 1995, he remained a director until 2008. Schroders was focused on fund management at that point, after selling its investment banking division to Citigroup Inc. for $2.2 billion in 2000.

“Gowi Mallinckrodt had a profound impact on Schroders over a period of many years,” Schroders Chairman Michael Dobson said in the statement.

Mallinckrodt’s 54-year tenure not only cemented the future of one of the City of London’s most enduring independent institutions. It also bolstered the wider family fortune. The Schroder clan have a 42% economic interest in the firm, whose 9.1 billion pound market valuation makes them one of the richest dynasties in Britain.

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