Blackstone's Ike leaves to start new investment firm

Signage is seen outside the Blackstone Group headquarters in New York City
Signage is seen outside the Blackstone Group headquarters in New York City, U.S., January 18, 2023. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

NEW YORK, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Melvin Ike, a managing director in Blackstone Inc's (BX.N) tactical opportunities group, has resigned to start his own investment firm, the private equity firm told Reuters.

Ike's resignation was announced during a meeting of Blackstone's tactical opportunities fund investors held last week in New York, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

He joined Blackstone in 2019 after spending four years at hedge fund manager Third Point LLC in addition to two-year stints at private equity firm TPG Inc (TPG.O) and investment bank Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N).

Ike's transactions for Blackstone's tactical opportunities unit include the sale of a majority stake in Wisconsin-based home improvement lender Aqua Finance for $1 billion to Apollo Global Management (APO.N) in 2021.

He also led Blackstone's acquisition of a majority stake in collectibles authentication firm Certified Collectibles Group as well as the minority investments in digital marketing firm Recurrent Ventures and Cybersecurity firm Geocomply.

Ike, 38, was among the handful of senior Black executives at Blackstone. Others are Verdun Perry, who runs Blackstone's secondaries business; Christopher James, the chief operating officer of tactical opportunities unit; and Carlos Whitaker, who serves as a senior managing director at Blackstone Credit focused on direct lending.

"Blackstone is an incredible organization in every respect and its commitment to excellence in its investment process is equally matched by its commitment to the diversity of those making investment decisions," Ike said in a statement.

Blackstone's tactical opportunities unit, which is run by David Blitzer, invests in assets that typically fall outside the scope of the firm's other funds, from timber and mines to oil tankers and satellites. It has about $34 billion in assets under management.

Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Rashmi Aich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.