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Blackstone Promotes Jon Gray To President, Elevates New Global Real Estate Heads

Jon Gray

Blackstone has promoted Global Head of Real Estate Jon Gray to president and chief operating officer, the investment management firm announced Tuesday.

Current President and Chief Operating Officer Tony James will assume the title of executive vice chairman and relinquish day-to-day oversight of the company. Both Gray and James will report to Chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

Ken Caplan and Kathleen McCarthy, both longtime executives in Blackstone’s real estate group, will succeed Gray as global co-heads of real estate.

Gray, 48, has been with Blackstone since he graduated from college in 1992. His career started in private equity and mergers and acquisitions before he joined the real estate group at its inception. He has been in charge of the division, which now accounts for half the firm’s earnings, since 2005. 

James had served as vice chairman and COO since joining the firm in 2002. He assumed the title of president when co-founder Peter G. Peterson retired in 2006. 

“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," Schwarzman said in a statement. "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.”

McCarthy was promoted from senior managing director and global COO of Blackstone Real Estate, where she is responsible for day-to-day operations of the real estate business, focusing on its investors, capital raising and business development efforts. She joined Blackstone in 2010 after a decade in real estate investments and mergers and acquisitions.

Caplan served as a senior managing director and global chief investment officer of the Real Estate group. After joining Blackstone in 1997, he spent several years in Blackstone’s London office, where he was head of Real Estate Europe.

Notable Blackstone real estate transactions include buying Equity Office, a stake in Hilton Worldwide, Logicor, GE Real Estate, Invitation Homes and Stuyvesant Town. Blackstone manages more real estate than any other company in the world after passing equity rival Brookfield last year.