GSO co-founder Tripp Smith to leave Blackstone

  • Smith to stay on at credit arm through June
  • Scott previously promoted to president in succession plan
  • GSO Chairman Goodman only co-founder to remain

Tripp Smith, co-founder of Blackstone Group’s GSO Capital Partners, will leave at the end of June to pursue other opportunities, a company memo obtained by Buyouts says.

Smith and his partners, Bennett Goodman and Doug Ostrover, sold GSO to Blackstone and joined the firm in 2008, creating one of the world’s largest credit investment platforms.

No successor is named for Smith, 52, but the memo notes that Dwight Scott was promoted to president of GSO last year as part of a succession plan.

“In that capacity,” Goodman wrote, “he has assumed oversight of GSO’s day-to-day activities. … In addition, we formed a management committee four years ago comprised of the 10 [senior managing directors] who run GSO and each of our businesses.”

Goodman himself will stay on as chairman, to focus on strategic initiatives, investment committees and LP-related matters. Ostrover left GSO to start a family office in 2015.

Goodman, Smith and Ostrover founded GSO in 2005. Three years later, Blackstone bought the firm for around $1 billion. GSO now has $138 billion of AUM, making it the private equity giant’s biggest business by assets.

“In addition, under [Smith’s] leadership,” the memo stated, “our European business has flourished to become one of the main engines driving our results.”

When Scott was promoted to president, Goodman told Bloomberg that the move would free up Smith to focus more on distressed debt.

Less than a year later, Smith’s departure comes as one of several management changes at Blackstone, including the promotion of real estate leader Jon Gray to president and chief operating officer, succeeding Tony James.

Outside of Blackstone, Smith made headlines last fall by purchasing a 10 percent stake in the struggling Premier League soccer club West Ham United F.C.

The details of the memo, written by Goodman, were first reported by Bloomberg.

Action Item: Check out Tripp Smith’s company bio here.

Photo of Tripp Smith courtesy of Blackstone Group.