Blackstone appoints real estate head Jon Gray as president, COO

Photo: Bloomberg

Blackstone Group LP named Jon Gray as president and chief operating officer of the alternative asset manager.

Tony James, who has been president and COO, will transition to executive vice chairman, a full-time role, according to a statement on Tuesday from New York-based Blackstone. Gray and James will report to chief executive officer Steve Schwarzman.

“I have had a wonderful 15 years at Blackstone so far and still savor every minute of it,” James said in the statement. “One of my most important responsibilities is succession, and I am blessed to have a spectacular leader and investor like Jon Gray to whom I can hand the reins.”

Gray, 48, joined Blackstone in 1992 straight out of college. The real estate business he oversees is the firm’s largest by assets and accounted for about half of Blackstone’s pretax profit last year.

“I’ve learned over the last 26 years that Jon Gray has great judgment, enormous energy and unique personal charisma, which has enabled him to garner enormous respect within the global financial community,” said Schwarzman, Blackstone’s billionaire co-founder. “The appointment of Jon as president and COO lays the foundation for the next generation of senior management and positions the firm well for future leadership.”

Blackstone named Ken Caplan and Kathleen McCarthy as global co-heads of real estate, succeeding Gray.