Blackstone Rearranges Top Execs

Jonathan Gray has been named president & COO, as Tony James moves into the executive vice chairman slot. In addition, two longtime execs will co-head global real estate, the position Gray is vacating.

By Scott Baltic

Jon Gray
Jonathan Gray

Jonathan Gray, Global Head of Real Estate at Blackstone, will take over the company’s day-to-day management and assume the titles of President & COO Tony James, who will continue in a full-time role as the firm’s executive vice chairman. Both will report to Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone’s Co-Founder, chairman & CEO. In addition, two longtime leaders in Blackstone’s real estate group, Ken Caplan and Kathleen McCarthy, will succeed Gray as global co-heads of real rstate. Gray will continue to chair the Real Estate Investment Committee.

Gray came to Blackstone in 1992 straight from the University of Pennsylvania, first working in the firm’s private equity and M&A areas before joining the real estate group at its inception. He has led this area since 2005, helping build the world’s largest real estate business with more than $115 billion of investor capital. Gray also sits on Blackstone’s board of directors and management committee.

“One of my most important responsibilities is succession,” James said in a prepared statement. “The appointment of Jon as President & COO lays the foundation for the next generation of senior management and positions the firm well for future leadership,” Schwarzman added.

James had joined Blackstone in 2002 as vice chairman & COO and assumed the title of president in 2006 on the retirement of Co-Founder Peter Peterson. Major initiatives led by James include the firm’s IPO, the acquisitions of GSO and Strategic Partners, the spin-off of the firm’s advisory business into PJT Partners, and the founding of Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities, Core Private Equity, Infrastructure, Insurance Solutions and retail initiatives.

Tony James
Tony James

In his new role, James will continue to sit on the firm’s investment committees, help develop new businesses and manage strategic external relationships. Like Gray, he will also continue to serve on the firm’s Management Committee and Board of Directors.

Major experience to new positions

The new Global Co-Heads of Real Estate, Caplan and McCarthy, have extensive experience with every aspect of Blackstone’s real estate business and have helped oversee its major functions.

Caplan currently serves as a senior managing director & global CIO of the real estate group. He has spent 21 years at the firm—nearly his entire career—during which he has been involved in more than $100 billion of CRE acquisitions globally. Caplan spent several years in Blackstone’s London office, serving as head of real estate Europe.

McCarthy currently serves as a senior managing director & global COO of Blackstone Real Estate. She is responsible for the real estate business’s day-to-day operations, with a particular focus on its investors, capital-raising and business development efforts across new investment products. She has been in real estate her entire career, having joined Blackstone in 2010 after a decade in real estate investments and M&A.

Photos courtesy of Blackstone

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