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Factbox: Blackstone Group's candidates for CEO
August 27, 2012 / 5:06 AM / in 5 years

Factbox: Blackstone Group's candidates for CEO

(Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman is grooming six senior executives as potential candidates to eventually take over the reins of the world’s largest alternative asset manager, according to insiders with direct knowledge of the situation.

The following are profiles of the main players in Blackstone’s CEO succession:

TOM HILL

Hill, 63, heads Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, the firm’s hedge fund-of-funds business with $42.9 billion of assets under management. He joined Blackstone in 1993 and previously co-headed its mergers and acquisitions advisory group.

Hill began his career at First Boston, later co-founding its mergers and acquisitions department. He then led the mergers and acquisitions practice of Smith Barney and in 1982 he joined Lehman Brothers as a partner, eventually rising to the post of co-CEO.

A graduate of Harvard Business School, Hill is cited in popular culture as one of the Wall Street grandees, alongside trader Ivan Boesky and activist investor Carl Icahn, that inspired Oliver Stone’s notorious fictional character Gordon Gekko.

BENNETT GOODMAN

Goodman, 54, co-founded GSO Capital Partners in 2005, the credit-focused investment firm that was acquired by Blackstone in 2008. Following the takeover earlier this year of Harbourmaster Capital, a leading European leveraged loan manager, his business now has $50.5 billion of assets under management.

Goodman’s first stint in debt investment was in the high-yield business of Drexel Burnham Lambert from 1984 to 1988. He then joined Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) to launch its high-yield capital markets group, making it the No. 1 global issuer of high-yield bonds in 1993 and for 11 consecutive years.

Like Blackstone President Tony James, Goodman joined Credit Suisse First Boston in 2000 with its acquisition of DLJ. He served there as the chairman of the corporate bank, overseeing Credit Suisse First Boston’s $35 billion of global corporate lending activities. Goodman is a graduate of Lafayette College and the Harvard Business School.

JOAN SOLOTAR

Solotar, 47, was hired by Blackstone in 2007 -- the year it went public -- to lure new investors to its shares. She has management responsibility for shareholder relations and public affairs and also guides the firm on analyzing strategic development opportunities.

Another veteran of DLJ, where she started her career in equity research in 1986, Solotar moved to Bank of America Corp in 2003 to become head of equity research.

Solotar has an MBA in finance from the NYU Stern School of Business. She serves on the board of directors of the East Harlem Tutorial Program.

LAURENCE TOSI

Cordially known within Blackstone as LT, Tosi, 44, has been the firm’s Chief Financial Officer since 2008 and has assumed more responsibility for running the business on a daily basis as James delegates more of his role.

Before joining Blackstone, Tosi was Chief Operating Officer of global markets and investment banking at Merrill Lynch & Co. From 2004 through 2007, Tosi was Merrill’s principal accounting officer for global finance.

A graduate of Georgetown University, he was also global head of corporate development at Merrill from 1999 to 2007, where he managed many of the firm’s strategic acquisitions and investments. Before joining Merrill Lynch in 1999, he was director of business development for General Electric Co’s NBC division.

JONATHAN GRAY

In his two decades with the firm, Gray, 42, has emerged as the leader of Blackstone’s most successful fund offering. His real estate business now manages $50.2 billion of assets under management.

Gray joined Blackstone in 1992 straight after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in English and economics. He quickly established a reputation for brilliant dealmaking acumen.

He was given joint responsibility of heading the real estate business in 2005, one year before he executed the largest real estate deal in history, the $39 billion acquisition of Equity Office Properties.

Gray then quickly sold off hundreds of the acquired buildings, deftly dodging the 2008 property crash. The public real estate companies taken private by Gray during his Blackstone career are valued at more than $100 billion in total.

JOE BARATTA

A Georgetown University graduate, Baratta, 41, joined Blackstone in 1998 and in 2001 moved to London to help establish the firm’s private equity business in Europe. In July, he was appointed global head of private equity, overseeing a business with $46.6 billion of assets under management.

Over the years, he had led a series of high-profile deals for Blackstone including British restaurant chain Tragus Group, healthcare staff provider Independent Clinical Services, and theme and holiday park operators Seaworld Parks and Entertainment, Merlin Entertainments Group and Center Parcs.

Before joining Blackstone, Baratta was with investment firms Tinicum Inc and McCowen De Leeuw & Co, and also worked at Morgan Stanley in its mergers and acquisitions department.

Source: Blackstone

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York, desking by G Crosse

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