Jacques Necker (30 September 1732 – 9 April 1804) was a Swiss banker, financier and politician, serving as the finance minister of Louis XVI of France during the lead-up to the French Revolution in 1789.
Necker was born in Switzerland, becoming an advocate of Enlightenment ideas. In 1776, Louis XVI appointed him Director General of the Treasury, then of Finance. Necker suggested to the King that France use loans to finance the support promised to the Patriots during the American Revolutionary War. However, Necker was forced to resign when France's debt grew too large.
In 1788, Necker was called back to resolve France's financial crisis, and the populace saw him as a voice of reason. Knowing that taxes were lower under him, the starving masses lauded him as the savior of France. It was Necker who advised the King to summon the Estates-General of 1789. When this failed to solve the King's problems, Necker was dismissed on 11 July, in large part due to the influence of Marie Antoinette. This sparked rumors that the King intended to attack Paris or arrest the deputies of the Estates-General, and prompted Camille Desmoulins to start an uprising at the Palais-Royal, leading indirectly to the Storming of the Bastille.
After being succeeded by the unpopular Joseph Foullon de Doué, Necker was recalled once more, before resigning on 3 September 1790. Intending to return to Switzerland, he had his servant leave stashes of his gold with men who would weaken the revolution and return a monarch to the throne. Notified that Necker was hiding something, the Assassin Arno Dorian stole the gold for his Brotherhood. He then used part of the stolen funds to buy Necker passage out of France. Necker thus retired to Switzerland, where he concentrated on writing works on finance and economy.