Blackstone Shooting its Messenger?

The Blackstone Group reportedly has hired Goldman Sachs super-flack Peter Rose, as managing director for public affairs. I’m hoping that this is simply a reflection of Blackstone’s status as a newly-public entity, and the reality that additional PR staff is needed when 500 people listen in on a quarterly earnings call. But it kind of reads like a slap at existing Blackstone spokesman John Ford. If so, it’s badly misplaced.

Few private equity firms have internal PR pros, and even fewer are very good. Ford is one of the exceptions – doing the little things like promptly returning a call, even if it’s to say “no comment.” He always knows more than he says (per his job description), but nonetheless tries to be as helpful as possible. And all with a distinguished British accent…

If Blackstone feels it’s suffering from a tarnished image, it is because of decisions made at a much higher level than John Ford. And if he’s being punished, then that would just be another bad decision.