Blackstone’s Schwarzman Says Jon Gray Is Part of Succession Plan

Jonathan Gray
Blackstone Group’s Jonathan Gray. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Blackstone Group LP, the world’s biggest alternative-asset manager, has a succession plan that includes real estate chief Jon Gray, co-founder Steve Schwarzman said.

“Jon is part of our succession plan,” Schwarzman, the New York-based firm’s chief executive officer, said in a Yahoo! Finance interview on Tuesday. “Something could always happen to me -- I sort of hope not, but eventually that will happen.”

Blackstone, which Schwarzman and Peter G. Peterson founded in 1985, is one of many private equity firms that are planning for an eventual hand-off of leadership as the industry turns about 40 years old. Schwarzman is 68, KKR & Co.’s Henry Kravis and George Roberts are 71, and Carlyle Group LP’s three founders are 65 to 68.

Gray, 45, joined Blackstone out of college in 1992 and became co-head of real estate in 2005, before becoming global head of the unit in 2011. He joined the company’s board of directors in 2012, becoming the fourth internal director after Chairman Schwarzman, Vice Chairman Tom Hill and President Tony James.

Blackstone’s day-to-day activities are run by Schwarzman and James. James, a Democrat who people familiar with the matter have said may be interested in public service, said in a 2013 interview that if a job lured him away it would have to be mentally challenging and allow the 64-year-old to “do something good for the world.”

Gray’s unit, which manages $93 billion in assets, produced 41 percent of Blackstone’s profit in 2014. In January, the real estate group named Ken Caplan to the new role of global chief investment officer, putting him second-in-command to Gray.

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