Blackstone’s Baratta, long-touted as Schwarzman’s potential successor, named to board of directors

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Blackstone’s global head of private equity Joe Baratta has been named to the firm’s board of directors after 22 years with the business.

Baratta, who has headed up its corporate private equity operations since 2012, led the raise of Blackstone’s record-breaking $26bn Fund VIII last year, and has expanded the business to include dedicated strategies for core private equity, energy, Asia and life sciences.

He has long been touted as a potential successor to Blackstone’s 73-year-old co-founder and CEO Stephen Schwarzman, following his meteoric rise in helping craft Blackstone’s European business in the 2000s.

Other names in the hat to take over the top job have included firm president and COO Jonathan Gray and Tactical Opportunities unit head David Blitzer.

Bennett Goodman, who had also been spoken of as a potential successor to Schwarzman, announced he was retiring from his full-time role with the firm last August.

Speaking of Baratta’s elevation to the board of directors, Baratta said, “Joe is a home-grown talent who epitomizes the core qualities that have made our firm successful.

“His judgment, integrity, investment expertise, and deep understanding of our industry and company will be an asset to the board, and we look forward to his contributions in this new capacity.”

Jon Gray, Blackstone president and COO, added, “Joe has been an outstanding leader of our world-class private equity franchise.

“His commitment to our people and our investors is extraordinary. He is a fantastic addition to our board and we’re grateful that he’ll bring his insights to this additional role.”

Baratta joined Blackstone in 1998, and three years later moved to London as Blackstone was setting up its corporate private equity business in Europe.

He returned to New York in 2012 to become Blackstone’s global head of private equity.

Baratta has also served as a member of the firm’s management committee for the last eight years, and sits on many of the firm’s investment committees.

Blackstone raised $20.5bn for its largest-ever real estate fund last year, as well as $14bn for its debut infrastructure fund.

This year so far the firm has collected $3.4bn towards its first life sciences fund since buying out Clarus, and $4bn for its newest energy vehicle.

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