Gray takes over as Blackstone president, replaced by co-heads of real estate

Jon Gray, global head of real estate of Blackstone, is being promoted to president and chief operating officer of the $430bn investment manager.

Gray, who has overseen Blackstone’s real estate expansion over more than 12 years, will take over the day-to-day management of the firm from Tony James, who will become executive vice chairman.

Ken Caplan and Kathleen McCarthy have been named global co-heads of real estate, succeeding Gray.

Caplan is currently senior managing director and global CIO of the real estate group, and has worked at Blackstone since 1997. He spent several years in Blackstone’s London office as head of real estate for Europe.

McCarthy is currently senior managing director and global chief operating officer of Blackstone Real Estate, responsible for day-to-day operations. She joined Blackstone in 2010.

Gray will remain chairman of the real estate investment committee and will continue to work Caplan and McCarthy.

“Having worked closely with Ken and Kathleen for many years, I have tremendous confidence in their ability to continue the group’s strong track record,” said Gray.

“They are excellent investors and operators with remarkable judgment, capable of driving the group to new heights.”

Gray joined Blackstone in 1992, starting in the private equity, mergers and acquisition areas of the firm, before joining the real estate group at its inception.

He has led the area since 2005, helping build one of the world’s largest real estate businesses. As reported earlier this month, Blackstone’s total real estate assets under management rose from $102bn at the end of 2016 to $115bn at the end of 2017.

“I have spent my entire career at Blackstone and could not be more proud to be part of this firm,” said Gray.

At the end of last year, Gray told IPE Real Assets that the real estate business would continue to grow. “Delivering returns is our focus,” he said. “As long as we continue to deliver on that, I expect our business will continue to grow.”

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