Blackstone Preparing for Steve Schwarzman’s Retirement

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The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) is reportedly in the throes of succession planning, in the event of the departure,  of its top functionary, founder and CEO Stephen Schwarzman, reports FINalternatives, citing CNBC, who in turn attributes the information to insiders with direct knowledge of the matter.

Blackstone Preparing for Steve Schwarzman's Retirement

According to CNBC’s report, Stephen Schwarzman is preparing six candidates for taking over the reins at The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) in the event of his departure.

Tom Hill is currently head of Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, the hedge fund business. He is 63 years old and a Harvard Business School graduate.

Bennett Goodman, 54, heads GSO Capital Partners, a credit –oriented investment company that has $50.5 billion in AUM, a graduate of Lafayette College and Harvard.

Joan Solotar, heads shareholder relations and public affairs. She is 47, and is an MBA Finance from NYU Stern School of Business.

Laurence Tosi, Chief Financial Officer. He is 44 and is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Jonathan Gray heads up the real estate fund business. He is 42 and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

Joe Baratta is the global head of private equity, and runs a business that has $46.6 billion in assets under management.

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Though Schwarzman has no immediate plans to retire, the man most likely to take over, not named in the list above, is Tony James, who is currently the firm’s president and chief operating officer. According to CNBC, one senior Blackstone executive said, “Steve will never retire; he will die at his desk. I wouldn’t necessarily conclude that Tony (James) is leaving anytime soon. He is a workaholic and he has got enormous energy.”

Like Schwarzman, others that head private equity firms and face similar succession quandaries are Henry Kravis and George Roberts (at KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR), and David Rubenstein, 63, William Conway, 63, and Daniel D’ Aniello, 65 of Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG).

With Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) increasingly safe in probes relating to mortgage backed security fraud, CEO Lloyd Blankfein is expected to be in the saddle at least another year. According to sources the person most likely to replace him is the President at the firm. Gary Cohn. Blankfein will likely leave once he has the share price of Goldman around its previous highs. Similar considerations relating to share price may also keep Jamie Dimon at the reins of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) for quite some time ahead.

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