Blackstone appoints Gray as president/COO, James becomes exec vice-chair

Blackstone has named Jon Gray, the global real estate head, as president and chief operating officer. Gray is succeeding Tony James, who will remain full-time at Blackstone and become executive vice chairman, reporting to Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Gray will also report to Schwarzman.

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

Gray first joined Blackstone in 1992 as a college graduate. He began in the investment firm’s private equity and M&A areas before joining the real estate group at its launch. He has led the latter group since 2005.

James joined Blackstone in 2002 as vice chairman and COO. He became president in 2006 when firm co-founder Peter Peterson retired. Among the major initiatives led by James include the firm’s IPO, the acquisitions of GSO and Strategic Partners and the spin-off of the firm’s advisory business into PJT Partners.

In his new role, James will continue to sit on the firm’s investment committees, help develop new businesses, act as a Blackstone spokesman and manage strategic external relationships. He will also remain on the firm’s management committee and board of directors.

Photo: Hamilton “Tony” James, President of Blackstone, listens to a question during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 1, 2017. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson