Marc "Boy-boy" Wallenberg

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Person.png Marc "Boy-boy" Wallenberg  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Born28 June 1924
Died19 November 1971 (Age 47)
Alma materHarvard Business School
ParentsMarcus Wallenberg Jr.
SpouseOlga Wehtje
Member ofThe 1001 Club, Wallenberg family
Victim ofpremature death
Wallenberg family businessman who killed himself after family intrigues

Marc "Boy-boy" Wallenberg[1] was a Swedish banker and business manager. A member of the prominent Wallenberg family, Marc Wallenberg was CEO of Stockholms Enskilda Bank until his death (officially ruled a suicide) in 1971.

Early life

Wallenberg was born in London, United Kingdom, the eldest son of Swedish banker Marcus Wallenberg (1899–1982) and Dorothy Mackay (1900–1984) from Scotland. He was the brother of Peter Wallenberg (1926–2015) and Ann-Mari Wallenberg (born 1929).

As the eldest son, Marc Wallenberg was destined to carry on the traditions of the financial family, and his father therefore planned the son's education so that he could take over as the family leader. However, it would turn out that the heir had difficulty living up to the father's expectations. In terms of both mathematical and verbal ability, he was moderately gifted. In the spring of 1943, he failed the matriculation examination but succeeded in retiring in the autumn, despite failing the written mathematics test.

In 1944, according to the Wallenberg tradition, he began his training as a naval officer. However, he had such great difficulty with a number of fundamental subjects, especially navigation skills, that he was asked to leave the navy. [2]He then chose to transfer to the Coastal Artillery, but even there the success was so limited that he felt it was better to be transferred to the reserve officer training in the Coastal Artillery's signal and mine department.

Because his weak grades prevented him from studying at the Stockholm School of Economics, he began studying economics at Harvard in the USA in the autumn of 1946 and received a Master of Business Administration in 1949.

Personal life

In 1955 he married Olga Wehtje (born 1930), the daughter of director Walter Wehtje and Gurli Bergström. They had four children; Marcus (born 1956), Axel (1958–2011), Mariana (born 1965) and Caroline (born 1968).[3][4]


After internships at several banks in the USA and England, he was employed at the family bank Stockholms Enskilda Bank in 1953 and with increasing experience he eventually became more and more respected in business circles. In 1956 he became vice CEO and in 1958 he became CEO.[3]

He was a board member of AB Svenska järnvägsverkstäderna, and he became vice chairman of the Swedish Bankers' Association (Svenska Bankföreningen) in 1959 and its chairman in 1961.[3] Wallenberg was appointed by the School of Economics and Business as a member of the Stockholm School of Economics Board of Directors, where he was treasurer from 1965 to 1971.[5] At the time of his death in 1971, Wallenberg was on the boards of 67 companies.[6]

Bank Merger

Marc Wallenberg was appointed Deputy CEO of Stockholms Enskilda Bank in 1956 and succeeded his father as CEO two years later. From the end of the 1960s, he participated actively and loyally in the work of the merger between Skandinaviska Banken and Stockholms Enskilda Bank, a merger that had been initiated by his father and which he ran with an iron fist. During the summer of 1971, the negotiation issues were resolved and on September 21, 1971, the merger was announced at a press conference. In the new bank, which was to be formally formed in 1972, Marc Wallenberg would become vice president and Lars-Erik Thunholm CEO and Marcus Wallenberg chairman. At Stockholm's Enskilda Bank's last Annual General Meeting on October 15, 1971, it became clear that Marcus Wallenberg's older brother, Jacob "Juju" Wallenberg, had opposed the merger, which was, however, decided by a large majority.[7]


On Thursday, 18 November 1971, the family bank held an ordinary board meeting. In the morning, Marc flew from Värnamo, where he had participated in a corporate debate the day before. At the debate, he was asked why the Wallenberg Group had started construction of a new pulp mill in Hyltebruk, despite it not yet having been authorized. His answer to the question was rash, responding that he would rather be prosecuted for an environmental crime than be forced to pay damages to a mass buyer for breach of contract. The statement was big news in the press and he was criticized by his father at the board meeting.

In the evening, he left a reception at the Italian Embassy and he did not come home for the night. The junior boss got into an inconspicuous Saab 99 passenger car from the bank's fleet and drove it southwards. The next day a hiker found the bank car empty with open doors in a wooded area 20 kilometers from the capital. A few meters away was the banker, covered in snow, shot with a hunting rifle.

Jacob Palmstierna and Peder Bonde, both Deputy CEO's of SEB, arrived at the site at 12 o'clock and were the first to see Wallenberg's dead body near his car and could confirm his identity. [8][9]

The clan boss, Marcus Wallenberg, was made of sterner stuff. When he found out about his son's death in London, he took a private plane to Stockholm in order to immediately take over the direction of a conference that his son Marc had wanted to lead. He did it with his usual routine: not a word was said about the death of the son.[10]

Proponents of the suicide theory hold the influence of stress due to the bank merger as central to decision to commit suicide. His workload was great and the expectations and pressure on him were no less. Marcus Wallenberg considered that his son's prolonged cold and medication with sulfa drugs might have been fatal.[11] Another reason is thought to be depression.[12] In his memoirs, Lars-Erik Thunholm testified that Marc Wallenberg's suicide was due to the fact that he, like his uncle Jacob "Juju" Wallenberg, was against the merger with Skandinaviska Banken, contrary to his father's intentions to go ahead with the agreement. To confront his father with his idea was impossible for Marc and he chose suicide.[13]

Although it is likely that Wallenberg died on 18 November, the official death day was set to 19 November 1971, the day when he was found dead. The day the family chose to indicate on his tombstone is, however, 18 November.[14] The 19 November, is dynasty founder André Oscar Wallenberg's birthday, an important day for the family, which has always been celebrated.[15][16][17]


  2. Olsson, Ulf (2000). Att förvalta sitt pund: Marcus Wallenberg 1899–1982 pages 141
  3. a b c
  4. Sveriges dödbok 1901–2013 [Swedish death index 1901-2013] (in Swedish) (Version 6.0 ed.). Solna: Sveriges släktforskarförbund. 2014.
  5. Rehnberg, Jonas (2009). The first 100 years: Stockholm School of Economics. Stockholm: Informationsförlaget.
  7. Olsson, Ulf (2000). Att förvalta sitt pund: Marcus Wallenberg 1899–1982 pages 386-389
  12. Fagerfjäll, Ronald (2015). Den förlorade sonens återkomst: Peter Wallenberg 1926-2015 [The return of the long lost son: Peter Wallenberg 1926-2015] (in Swedish) (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Ekerlid. p. 143.
  13. |newspaper=Dagens Nyheter
  16. Thunholm, Lars-Erik (1996). Den stora fusionen (in Swedish). Stockholm: Fischer.
  17. Olsson, Ulf (1986). Bank, familj och företagande: Stockholms enskilda bank 1946-1971 (in Swedish). Stockholm: [Skandinaviska enskilda banken] i samarbete med Institutet för ekonomisk-historisk forskning vid Handelshögsk. (EHF). }