Pete Peterson is dead. Tom Hill and Tony James have stepped back. Steve Schwarzman… Well, Steve Schwarzman is still very much in charge. But even he will be replaced someday, probably by the same guy who replaced James. Change is afoot at the Blackstone Group.
In January, Blackstone said John McCormick would take over management of the hedge fund business as Tom Hill stepped into the role of the group’s chairman. The firm also recently announced it was promoting Jon Gray to president and chief operating officer. Ken Caplan and Kathleen McCarthy were promoted to global co-heads of real estate.
Blackstone’s largest business, credit arm GSO Capital Partners, is not immune to these winds. Indeed, last year, it got a new president, ostensibly to allow the “S” in “GSO,” Tripp Smith, more time to sift through distressed-debt opportunities, since the “G,” Bennett Goodman, assured that Smith was still “entirely committed to GSO.” Which may have been true! But only for a few months.
Tripp Smith, who was instrumental in building out Blackstone Group LP’s biggest business as a co-founder of GSO Capital Partners, is leaving the firm.
The 52-year-old plans to pursue other opportunities but will remain with GSO until the end of June….
Here’s hoping those other opportunities include saving the English soccer club Smith’s now a minority owner of, West Ham United, from itself, although they’ll probably have been relegated by the time Smith extricates himself from GSO.