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Ambassador Rohatyn's rapprochement

As far as American CEOs were concerned, Felix Rohatyn was Lazard.

As far as American CEOs were concerned, Felix Rohatyn was Lazard. Now, four years after his bittersweet exit, the financier extraordinaire is making peace and renewing his ties with the firm he helped make a household name. Rohatyn, who ended a stint as U.S. ambassador to France last December, will become a senior adviser to Lazard, which he first joined back in 1949. Rohatyn's last few years at the firm were marred by a public spat with protégé-turned-rival Steven Rattner, who rose up to run the U.S. branch of the firm under Lazard heir and all-around sun king Michel David-Weill and then bid Lazard adieu last year to form the private equity outfit Quadrangle Group. "I decided that I couldn't go back to Lazard in any full-time capacity, because it wouldn't be good for Lazard, and it wouldn't be good for me," says the diplomatic Rohatyn, who may be best known for saving New York City from bankruptcy in 1975. (A New York Post report says that a lucrative noncompete arrangement with Lazard may have also encouraged Rohatyn to return to his old firm.) The 73-year-old may not want to work full-time for Lazard, but he's definitely staying busy. Rohatyn Associates will lease space in Lazard's Rockefeller Center offices, where it will advise the firm - and other corporations - on strategic matters and make itself available to Lazard clients. Rohatyn sits on the boards of cable giant Comcast and Italian carmaker Fiat and is waiting for shareholder approval to join several others. He also plans to devote time to philanthropic efforts and keep a hand in public policy activities as a trustee for the Center for International Studies and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. "I've spent the last three months figuring out what I should do," Rohatyn says. One thing he didn't consider was a quiet retirement. "Not at all."