Born in 1829 and the son of a family of Swiss bankers, Edouard Hentsch's international outlook and spirit of enterprise that form part of Indosuez’s DNA were clear from an early age. After studies in Germany and an apprenticeship in Great Britain, it was at the age of 21 that he was to found his first company, Coulon, Hentsch and Co.
After moving to Paris, and successfully replicating his first experiment as an entrepreneur, he was soon to make his strong mark on the world of finance and play a part in the creation of banking institutions that still count today.
Edouard Hentsch's career saw him undertake a number of roles, from Founder and Director of Société Générale between 1864 and 1870 to Director then Chairman of Crédit Foncier Colonial, and then Founding Director of Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas in 1872.
It was in 1875 that several financial institutions came together to form Banque de l’Indochine, including Maison Hentsch, Lutscher et Compagnie of which Edouard Hentsch was a shareholder, and Comptoir d’Escompte de Paris, which he was managing at the time. As representative and shareholder of both companies, he was appointed the first Chairman of Banque de l’Indochine, going on to serve a 14-year mandate which saw the bank launch its first services in Paris and its first overseas branches in the Asia-Pacific region, from Saigon in 1875 to Pondichery in 1877, Haiphong in 1885, Hanoi in 1886, and Noumea in 1888.