The Kestenbaum phenomenon


By Geoffrey Paul
November 21, 2010
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There is enough top military brass (retired) in the House of Lords almost to furnish a parliamentary detachment of their own, among them former chiefs of staff, supreme commanders and medal-heavy generals. What, I wonder, will they make of the arrival in their midst of an ex-IDF soldier, a holder of the Israel army’s “outstanding soldier award”? That unusual distinction appears nowhere in the media’s biographical notes on last week’s elevation to the peerage of Jonathan Kesternbaum, one-time director of the Chief Rabbi’s office and subsequently holder of some of the most challenging posts in business and technological development in Britain. Most of the newspapers missed something else. too. While he is, as they report, currently executive director of NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, the largest endowment in the UK exclusively dedicated to fostering innovation, he is about to sit in an even more challenging seat. At the end of the year Kestenbaum - Lord Kestenbaum - will take over Lord Rothschild’s responsibilities as Chairman and Chief Executive of Five Arrows Limited, the investment company controlled by Jacob Rothschild’s family interests, while Rothschild will remain on the board of Five Arrows under Kestenbaum’s chairmanship. Mr Kestenbaum will also work closely with Lord Rothschild on the overall management of his family’s various philanthropic organisations. Howzat for a former mazkir of B’nai Akiva, born, of all places, in Tokyo, and only just 51? Oh, and yes, this - to me - young man, who will sit at the head of one of the most powerful capitalist outfits in the world, will take his other seat on the Labour benches!,

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