|Birthplace||New York, USA|
|Columbia University, MBA||1981|
Robert Frank Agostinelli (born May 21, 1953) is an Italian American self-made billionaire investor who is the chairman and co-founder of private equity firm Rhone Group. According to Forbes Agostinelli has a net worth of $1.0 billion as of March 2012 ranking him at #416 among American billionaires. In correlation, The Sunday Times Rich List and Financial News reported Agostinelli’s net worth at £630 million as of 2012 ranking him at #124 among the richest people in the United Kingdom.
Early Life and Education Agostinelli was born to Italian immigrant parents outside of Rochester, New York and attended the Aquinas Institute in suburban Rochester. He went on to obtain his BA from St. John Fisher College in 1976 and then attended Columbia University where he received his MBA and graduated in 1981 with highest honors and is on the Alumni Board. Agostinelli is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Career Agostinelli began his career in financial services at the Investment Bank Jacob Rothschild from 1981-1982 and then joined Goldman Sachs where he worked for five years and founded the firm’s international mergers and acquisitions business in London. Agostinelli then went on to become a senior partner at Lazard Freres in New York from 1987 to 1995. After which point Agostinelli together with partner Steven Langman then went on to start their own firm, the Rhone Group where he continues to work today.
Politics and Philanthropy Agostinelli is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a major supporter of Zionist and neoconservative causes. He is one of the Founding Members of the Friends of Israel Initiative (FII). In 2008 Agostinelli provided substantial funding to the Presidential Campaigns of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Under pressure from the French media, president Nicolas Sarkozy admitted to Le Monde in 2007 that Agostinelli had paid the rent on a luxury villa for him during his controversial 2006 holiday to the United States.
Agostinelli is often seen jogging with Sarkozy in various places around the world. He is also a senior member of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation led by The American Patriots Campaign Cabinet. He is also a Senior Board Director on the American Italian Cancer Foundation. Agostinelli is also known for regularly writing articles in the Wall Street Journal on various controversial political, economic and social issues. As well as supporting The American Jewish Committee Magazine.
The Last Tycoons In William D. Cohan’s best selling book ‘The Last Tycoons’: The Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co. Agostinelli is described as:
“A suave, sophisticated, energetic international financier with extravagant tastes and slicked-back jet-black hair, who pretended to speak Italian but could not.” Cohan mentions how Agostinelli played a pivotal role in building Lazard, for the most part Agostinelli is critiqued.
In Chapter 14, entitled It’s A White Man’s World Agostinelli is further portrayed: “Bohner was also said to have dated the flamboyant Agostinelli, who had taken to having a gourmet chef prepare his meals for his overseas first-class flights and having Frette sheets FedExed to his hotel rooms in advance of his arrival. - His American Express bills were said to be on the order of $200,000 a month.”