When Blackstone Group LP named a new global head of private equity last month, Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman was looking for more than just a business unit chief. Even though the buyout king has no plans to retire, the appointment of Joe Baratta, a 41-year-old dealmaker credited with building up the firm’s European buyouts practice, was the latest step in a wider succession plan, Blackstone insiders said. Baratta joins five other senior Blackstone executives from whose ranks the successor to Schwarzman, 65, will eventually emerge, the sources said. The others are Jonathan Gray, 42, real estate chief; Bennett Goodman, 54, co-founder of the credit business; Tom Hill, 63, who runs the hedge fund team; Laurence Tosi, 44, the chief financial officer; and Joan Solotar, 47, who spearheads investor relations, the sources said. […] “Steve will never retire; he will die at his desk,” one senior Blackstone executive said. [Reuters]

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