Financier Frank Pizzitola dies at 89

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Frank Pizzitola, a general partner at Lazard Freres & Co. who worked with such legendary figures as Andre Meyer, Michel David-Weill and Felix Rohatyn during a 21-year career at the investment bank, has died. He was 89.

He died Monday at his home in Manhattan, according to his son, Stephen. The cause was heart failure.

"Frank was a good banker and a good friend, and we will all miss him," Rohatyn said in an email. Rohatyn, 84, is now special adviser to Kenneth Jacobs, chairman and chief executive of Lazard Ltd., as the company is now known.

A graduate of Harvard Business School, Pizzitola joined Lazard in Manhattan in 1973 after serving as president of Jim Walter Corp., a building-materials company in Tampa, Fla.

As a general partner from 1973 to 1994, Pizzitola helped guide Lazard in its sometimes-turbulent final decades as a closely held family partnership.

Robert Agostinelli, a former Lazard senior director who co-founded the Manhattan-based private-equity firm Rhone Capital LLC, said in an email that Pizzitola was "a grand man" and "an iconic Lazard partner."

"Frank was fond of saying that Lazard defined the essence of the grande banque d'affaires -- where a handful of focused and capable men could alter the course of major corporate affairs and cast a shadow far greater than their number," Agostinelli recalled. "Without a doubt Frank was one of those handful."

Even after becoming a limited partner in 1994, Pizzitola remained a regular at the Rockefeller Center offices of Lazard, the largest independent merger adviser.

Earlier, he served in the Army during World War II and graduated from Brown University in 1949 and Harvard Business School in 1951.

He worked for seed-maker Monsanto Co., in St. Louis, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brazil, before moving to Manhattan in 1956 for a job with Olin Mathieson Chemical Corp. He then held management positions at drugmaker E.R. Squibb & Sons and chemical producer Celanese Corp. before joining Jim Walter Corp.

He spent 12 years as chairman of the cooperative board at 733 Park Avenue, where he lived for almost four decades.

-- Bloomberg News

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