In Memoriam: Otto Schoeppler, 91

Led Chase in Germany and
Chaired Chase Manhattan Capital Markets Corp.

Otto Schoeppler, former chair of Chase Manhattan in Germany, died on August 26, 2015 at the age of 91.

Schoeppler was born in Worms, Germany, in 1924 and arrived in the United States in 1928. He grew up in Pennsylvania. His studies at Cornell and Bowling Green State Universities were interrupted by military service during the last three years of World War II, serving as a lieutenant at the front in France and Germany. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Croix de Guerre. In 2011, by decree of the President of France, he was appointed "Chevalier" of the Legion of Honour in recognition of his role in the liberation of France.

After graduating from Bowling Green State University in 1947 he joined the Insurance Company of North America and became General Manager of its business in Germany.

He joined The Chase Manhattan Bank in 1960 and became head of its operations in Germany. During these years, under his leadership, a military banking facility was expanded into full international banking operations with five branches throughout Germany. During those years Schoeppler was elected President of The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany and served as a member of the Council of American Chambers of Commerce in Europe.

Schoeppler left Chase Manhattan in 1968 and became Partner of Trinkhaus & Burkhardt, a German private bank. He rejoined Chase Manhattan in 1974. In a rapidly changing market and regulatory environment calling for substantial adjustments in the way the bank had to be managed, Schoeppler led Chase's expanding and increasingly successful activities in the investment banking field. He was appointed Chairman of Chase Manhattan Capital Markets Corp. and its subsidiaries in London and Hong Kong.

Otto retired in 1985, but continued to support The Chase as Chairman of Chase Bank AG in Germany.

Continuing for a number of years after retirement he served on a number of company boards in the United States and in Germany.

He received an honorary doctorate degree from Bowling Green State University in 1979 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1980.

Schoeppler was married for over 65 years to Dolores, who died in 2014. They are survived by two children, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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From Rolf Reinhold: Otto really was a banker of the old school, and aside from knowledge and experience, he certainly knew how to keep people motivated and understod the human side of working together.

From David Burns: I first met Otto Schoeppler in the summer of 1980 soon after joining Chase Manhattan Limited (“CML”) in London.  He was then chairman of the merchant banking group, as we knew it then. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and one felt immediately at one’s ease when talking with him.  In many ways, looking back over one’s career, he was very much a role model and someone it was easy to look up to.  I saw him regularly during my time at Chase in both London and New York and until his retirement, and it was always a pleasure to spend some time with him.

From Robert Schwarzenbach: Otto was a great strategic thinker who transformed Chase from a traditional American commercial bank into the investment bank it is today. With his office in Zurich and an organization in Brussels, he created a virtual investment bank within Chase Europe to serve its American corporate clients. Frank Stankard soon put him in charge of Chase Manhattan Limited in London, which became Chase’s investment bank. Within two years CML has become the largest manager of syndicated loans in the world, and its international bond underwriting operation became the largest of any American bank. Soon after he started investment banking units in Hong Kong and New York. The success of these units eventually led to the transformation of the Chase Corporate Bank into the Chase Global Investment Bank, and the rest is history. Otto truly deserves a page in the history of the Chase Bank.

From Rüdi von Eisenhart-Rothe: As some of our members know, I had a very special, although not always very easy, relationship with Otto. I have always admired him. For many of us in Europe, he was quintessential American: He was kind and could be tough, he was sincere and could be full of humour, he was a leader and led by example, he was straight even to those who were not, he had very strong convictions and was still able to change some of them - a very controlled open mind. He was a role model for leadership.

From Herb Jacobi: Otto hired me as a young American working for Deutsche Bank as an economist to join the Chase SDP and credit training in 1964. After my New York training, I was made head of the first new branch in Germany after Frankfurt, in Duesseldorf. Otto was an inspiring man to work for, and I was very sorry when he left the Bank. Little did I know that six years later, when I was EVP Corporate Banking in New York, I would bring him back to Chase from Trinkaus & Burkhardt to open the Zurich Corporate office, which he ran with great success and then go on from there to run the investment bank in London. The irony of kismet is that in 1981 I ended up at Trinkaus. I always stayed in touch with Otto and had many a very pleasant golf round  with him in the south of France. I will save a special place in my good memories bank for him. 

From Robert Binney: I had the privilege of working for Otto for eight years, first at CML in London and then at CMAL in Hong Kong.
He was a joy to work for and an inspiring leader. He was a true gentlemen and great fun to be with, full of charm and elegance. Dolores and he made a glamorous couple; it was a delight to visit their homes in London, Switzerland and the South of France, but without doubt the highlight was to visit them in their magical home in Klosters. Making business calls with Otto was sheer pleasure. He had a wonderful way with with people, so that clients and prospects alike were charmed by his most engaging and professional manner - a real relationship banker. No wonder he had such a tremendous contact list of seniors in many corporates and financial institutions around the globe; no wonder the Merchant Banking Group was so successful under his leadership. Without doubt he was the best boss I had during my 25 years at Chase.

From Karl H. Schmidt: I did not know Otto Schoppler well, but working in New York from the early seventies on with the German U. S. Subsidiaries and traveling frequently to Germany I can only echo what was already said that Otto Schoeppler was a real statesman. He successfully transformed Chase in Germany from a military banking facility to a Commercial and Investment bank. Otto Schoeppler was well respected by the German business community.

From Peter Gross: It is with deep sadness that I am writing this note on the passing of Otto. I will be forever grateful that he agreed to hire me as a young man in 1966 to join Chase in Germany.  He was a leader and mentor and stood up for me at a point later on when needed. Thanks again and R.I.P.