Stephen Schwarzman and a partner started the Blackstone Group in 1985 with $400K. It is now the world’s largest private equity shop, and it has made Schwarzman one of the richest men in the world.
Blackstone has more real estate in its portfolio than any other company in the world, a title it took back from Brookfield in May. Among the company's high-profile real estate holdings are the Willis Tower in Chicago (where a massive $500M renovation, the largest single investment in Blackstone's history, is underway), the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and the 11,000-unit Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, which it partnered with Ivanhoé Cambridge to acquire for $5.6B in 2015.
A longtime friend of President Donald Trump, Schwarzman served as chairman of the president’s short-lived Strategic Policy Forum, a consortium of business leaders tasked with helping the new administration assess the world business climate and implement business-friendly policies. The forum disbanded this summer after racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Trump’s response to it.
Schwarzman’s philanthropic activities are extensive. They include investing $100M of his own money in the Schwarzman Scholars program, which provides master’s degrees in business, public policy or international studies at Tsinhua University in Beijing. — Scott Klocksin