John J. Studzinski

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John J. Studzinski
John Studzinski (cropped).jpg
John Studzinski in 2012
Born (1956-03-19) March 19, 1956 (age 59)
Peabody, Massachusetts
Residence London, England,
New York, NY
Citizenship USA, UK

Bowdoin College (BA)

University of Chicago (MBA)
Occupation Investment banker, philanthropist
Known for Genesis Foundation
Title Vice Chairman of Investor Relations and Business Development
at Blackstone

John Joseph Paul Studzinski, CBE (born March 19, 1956)[1] is an American-British investment banker and philanthropist.[2] He is Vice Chairman of Investor Relations and Business Development at The Blackstone Group.[3] He is also a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone.[4] He joined Blackstone in 2006 as global head of Blackstone Advisory Partners, the company's mergers and acquisitions advisory arm, and he ran that division for nearly a decade.[4]

Prior to joining Blackstone, Studzinski was at Morgan Stanley from 1980–2003, and HSBC from 2003–2006, building mergers-and-acquisitions divisions in both of those institutions.

Studzinski is heavily involved in hands-on philanthropy, patronage, and charity work. His numerous charitable activities revolve mainly around the arts, the homeless, and human rights.

Born and raised in the U.S., Studzinski moved to the UK in 1984, and holds American and British citizenship.[5] Since 2006, he has divided his time between London and New York.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

John Studzinski was born in 1956 in Peabody, Massachusetts, a town 15 miles northeast of Boston. His parents were working-class Polish immigrants,[2] and his father was a financial manager at General Electric's aircraft-engine division.[6] Education and industriousness were emphasized in the family, and music as well.[6][7] His was a traditional Polish Catholic family and community, and Catholicism and Christianity were a bedrock in his life.[8] He worked in soup kitchens as a teenager, and helped start a toll-free number to inform adolescents about sexually transmitted diseases.[6][9]

Studzinski attended prep school at St. John's Preparatory School in Massachusetts.[10][11] He graduated magna cum laude from Bowdoin College in 1978, with a double BA degree in biology and sociology. He received an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago in 1980.[12]


Morgan Stanley[edit]

After receiving his MBA, Studzinski began his investment banking career in New York in 1980 on Wall Street, at Morgan Stanley.[2] He spent 23 years at the company, in positions of increasing responsibility.[13] In 1984 he moved to London, to create and build Morgan Stanley’s European mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory business.[14] He served as head of the European investment banking division and deputy chairman of Morgan Stanley International.[12] By the time he left Morgan Stanley in 2003, the division he built was the number three European M&A advisory.[14][15]


In June 2003, Sir John Bond at London-based multinational bank giant HSBC hired Studzinski to create and build an investment banking division, along with Stuart Gulliver. As co-head of investment banking at HSBC Group, and a member of the Group Management Board,[13] Studzinski was in charge of mergers and acquisitions, while Gulliver built the markets side of the investment banking franchise.[15][16] Studzinski made a number of hirings, and grew the new M&A division.[17][15] After three years at HSBC, following Bond's retirement, Studzinski left the giant bank for Blackstone in May 2006.[18][15]


In 2006 Studzinski joined The Blackstone Group, an American multinational private equity, investment banking, alternative asset management, and financial services corporation based in New York City. He joined as the senior managing director in its investment and advisory group and as a member of the firm's executive committee.[19][17] He was recruited to oversee and develop Blackstone’s mergers-and-acquisitions advisory business, Blackstone Advisory Partners, in the United States and Europe, and to open an office in London.[20][17] CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman said in 2006 that Studzinski's "outstanding track record in transatlantic investment banking will be invaluable in accelerating the growth of our advisory business".[17]

Studzinski is based in both New York and London. His primary role as global head of Blackstone Advisory Partners was to oversee Blackstone's corporate M&A advisory services business in the U.S., and further develop the corporate M&A advisory business in Europe and Asia.[12][13] He was personally involved in many of the firm's largest advisory assignments.[21] He advised multinational corporations, conglomerates, governments, banks, and institutions, on acquisitions, equity investments, restructurings, spin-offs, mergers, and overseas operations.[13][22][23][24]

In early 2015, Blackstone began spinning off three of its divisions, including its M&A advisory group, to avoid any potential conflicts of interest with its primary private-equity business.[25][26][27] After assisting with the transition,[21] Studzinski became Vice Chairman of Investor Relations and Business Development at Blackstone.[4][28] In this capacity, he holds responsibility for a number of sovereign and international institutional relationships, as well as ultra high-net-worth families outside the U.S.[4]

Philanthropy and advisorships[edit]

Studzinski is an active, prolific, hands-on philanthropist. His numerous philanthropic interests and activities fall mainly into three categories: the arts, the homeless, and human rights.[8] The motivation behind his philanthropic work is "human dignity, and the nurturing of it".[2] He feels strongly about giving opportunities to those who have none and can't afford to find any.[2]


In addition to the more than £6 million ($9 million) he has given to the Tate Modern museum as of 2012,[29][30] Studzinski is also passionate about giving opportunities to people in the early stages of careers in the arts, and steadily supporting the growth of their success. He feels that "money is so much better spent on the process of creating, on nurturing emerging talent and staying with it, a commitment over the years. And networks: bringing young creative people into a network they can learn from and that will support them."[2]

In 2001 he established the Genesis Foundation, which helps and supports young artists, playwrights, directors, composers, musicians, and dancers, by providing them with practical and financial support in the earliest stages of their careers.[31][12][6][32][2] It is his personal foundation, which he fully funds. As of 2015, Genesis has supported more than 900 artists, including Rufus Norris, the newly appointed Artistic Director of the National Theatre.[33][5]

Some of Genesis's numerous projects have included scholarships at LAMDA and the Royal College of Art,[2][32] funding for playwrights and plays at the Royal Court Theatre and the Young Vic,[2][31] and support for new playwriting at High Tide Festival.[2] Its music ventures have included a major concert series at St John's, Smith Square for new recital artists;[31] support for the Welsh National Opera and for The Sixteen, a group of professional classical singers;[31][2][32] commissioning new operas performed by London’s independent Tête à Tête opera company;[2] and commissioning new sacred music from young composers.[2][8] Genesis also grants scholarships for young dancers to attend the Bolshoi Ballet School.[2]

In addition, Genesis provides financial support and start-up funding to small businesses working in the arts, via the Prince's Trust.[2][31] It also grants the Genesis Prize, a biennial £25,000 prize awarded to individuals or companies that promote new talent,[34][2][35] and the Genesis Prize for Opera, which finances the creation and production of new modern chamber opera.[31]

The homeless[edit]

The Financial Times has called Studzinski a "champion of homeless charity work in London".[2] He is a founder member of the Passage Day Centre, one of the largest day care centers for the homeless in London, and he funds the homeless charity Emmaus UK.[36] He also works as a regular volunteer at the Passage soup kitchen.[31][20]

Studzinski was the first chairman of Business Action on Homelessness,[37] which is a partnership between Business in the Community, major companies, homeless agencies, and the British government. The organization, which began in 1998, raises companies' awareness of homelessness throughout the UK, and works with businesses to equip homeless people with the skills needed to gain and sustain employment. It encourages companies to provide work placements and training courses assisting the homeless back into work. Studzinski promotes and encourages corporate social responsibility, and organized regular visits for businesspeople to see homeless projects in action.[31] The organization changes the perceptions companies have of homelessness and helps homeless people back into employment.[31]

Studzinski has also long decried the rising rates of youth unemployment, especially in the wake of the recession, and has called upon businesses and governments to focus on youth employment.[38][28] He points to the model of Germany and its continued post-war economic success and weathering of the global economic crisis, noting that its emphasis on medium-sized companies – and concomitant values of the right to work, job creation, client satisfaction, and product excellence – have kept unemployment, including youth unemployment, low.[39][38]

Human rights[edit]

Studzinski is Vice Chair of Human Rights Watch (HRW),[40] and he developed the European arm of the organization.[20][41] He has also been director of HRW, a member of its executive committee, and chairman of its investment committee.[30][42][43][44][45] He has stated that his involvement in Human Rights Watch is an extension of his strong belief in "respect for humanity, justice and dignity. Human dignity, the respect for human life and dignity".[8] As a board member of HRW, Studzinski has used his international contacts to help the organization expand so that it can draw attention to atrocities across the world, including in Syria and the Middle East.[33]

Additional advisorships[edit]

Studzinski is a trustee of both the Tate Foundation and also the American Patrons of Tate.[46] He is a member of the council of the Royal College of Art,[47] and he is chairman of Create London, a non-profit organization that takes the arts into East London and other areas, connecting artists with communities through an ambitious program of projects.[29][5][48][4] He has been elected to the board of trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust,[49] and is also on the board of directors of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, which promotes American art abroad.[50]

He is on the board of trustees of Bowdoin College,[44] and is a board member of the International Youth Foundation,[51] which mobilizes businesses, governments, and other organizations to create opportunities for youth to learn, work, and lead.[52] He is president of the American Friends of the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which focuses on challenges facing young people, members of the armed forces, and conservation.[53][4]

Studzinski is also on the board of trustees of the Royal Parks Foundation,[54] and is chairman of Benjamin Franklin House.[55] He is on the Policy Advisory Council of the Institute for Public Policy Research.[43] In international affairs, he is Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council,[56] and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[57]


Personal life[edit]

Studzinski has residences in London and New York, and divides his time between the two cities.[2][12] Strongly motivated by his spiritual and religious faith, he has a chapel in his historic London home, and prays and reads books on religion and meditation daily.[64][8][36] Holding an extensive art collection, he has been an active buyer and seller of art.[2]


  1. ^ John Joseph Studzinski.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Dalley, Jan. "Lunch with the FT: John Studzinski". Financial Times. January 21, 2011.
  3. ^ John Joseph Studzinski – Executive Profile at Bloomberg.
  4. ^ a b c d e f John Studzinski – Official profile, Blackstone.
  5. ^ a b c Clark, Nick. "John Studzinski: The banker marrying business and the arts". The Independent. June 19, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Nayeri, Farah. "Blackstone's Studzinski Gives Millions Nurturing Tomorrow's Art". Bloomberg. October 2, 2007.
  7. ^ Handy, Charles. The New Philanthropists. Random House, 2011. pp. 197–198.
  8. ^ a b c d e "John Studzinski: Senior director at Blackstone who does God and Mammon". The Telegraph. June 1, 2008.
  9. ^ Wakefield, Mary. "Private passions: Mary Wakefield talks to John Studzinski about philanthropy and the importance of art". The Spectator. September 24, 2011.
  10. ^ St. John's Prep (MA): Notable Alumni. St. John's Preparatory School. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  11. ^ "St. John's Prep Opens New Library". In: MBLC Notes, November/December 2003: Library Happenings. Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. November/December 2003. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h John Studzinski CBE. FT Business of Luxury Summit, 30 May – 1 June 2012. Financial Times. 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d About John Studzinski. John Studzinski's blog.
  14. ^ a b Orr, Deborah. "New Ledger". Forbes. March 1, 2004.
  15. ^ a b c d Spikes, Sarah. "Studzinski leaving raises doubts about HSBC's commitment". Financial Times. May 18, 2006.
  16. ^ "HSBC rests its M&A ambitions on Studs". Institutional Investor. May 1, 2003.
  17. ^ a b c d "John Studzinski Joins Blackstone". The Blackstone Group. May 18, 2006.
  18. ^ Buerkle, Tom. "The long good-bye for HSBC's Studs". Institutional Investor. June 1, 2006.
  19. ^ Moyer, Liz. "Hitting A Brick Wall". Forbes. May 18, 2006.
  20. ^ a b c Wachman, Richard. "Cracking the Studzinski code". The Observer. October 7, 2006.
  21. ^ a b Roumeliotis, Greg and Paritosh Bansal. "UPDATE 4-Blackstone gives up its roots in advisory unit spin-off". Reuters. October 10, 2014.
  22. ^ Bloomberg Dealmakers Summit – Speakers. 2013.
  23. ^ John Studzinski at LinkedIn.
  24. ^ Blackstone Advisory Partners – Selected Transactions. The Blackstone Group. Accessed March 12, 2015.
  25. ^ "Blackstone to list advisory arm early 2015". Financial Times. October 2014.
  26. ^ Dezember, Ryan. "Blackstone Group to Spin Off Financial Advisory Business". Wall Street Journal. October 10, 2014.
  27. ^ Blackstone – History: 2014. Blackstone. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  28. ^ a b "E.U. Estrangement Before The Divorce (a.k.a Volatility)". Fund Portfolio Management. January 23, 2015.
  29. ^ a b Nayeri, Farah. "Blackstone’s Studzinski to Give Tate $1.57 Million More". Bloomberg. July 31, 2012.
  30. ^ a b "Donation provides cornerstone for new Transforming Tate Modern development". Tate Modern. May 22, 2007.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "John Studzinski wins special Beacon Prize". March 12, 2005.
  32. ^ a b c Genesis Foundation.
  33. ^ a b Nickson, John. "Why art and philanthropy are natural partners". Alliance. March 2, 2015.
  34. ^ The Genesis Prize.
  35. ^ Studzinski, John. "Let's Hear it for the Arts Mentors". Huffington Post. March 30, 2012.
  36. ^ a b Nayeri, Farah. "Blackstone’s Studzinski Scales Back Sponsorship of U.K. Arts". Bloomberg. July 28, 2009.
  37. ^ "Developing Responsible Business Leaders: Insights from 24 years of the Prince's Seeing Is Believing visits". Business in the Community and Ashridge Business School. 2013. p. 16.
  38. ^ a b Studzinski, John. "We must not abandon young people to unemployment". The Guardian. November 17, 2011.
  39. ^ Studzinski, John. "Germany is right: there is no right to profit, but the right to work is essential". The Guardian. February 6, 2013.
  40. ^ John J. Studzinski. Human Rights Watch.
  41. ^ "Most influential Americans in the UK: 20 to 11". The Telegraph. November 22, 2007.
  42. ^ a b John Studzinski. Debrett's.
  43. ^ a b John Studzinski. Institute for Public Policy Research.
  44. ^ a b c "Royal Honor for John Studzinski '78, Architectural Accolades for Namesake". Bowdoin College Campus News. February 26, 2008.
  45. ^ Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch World Report, 2003. Human Rights Watch, 2003. p. 558.
  46. ^ Membership of the Tate Board’s Councils and Committees. Tate Museum. Accessed March 12, 2015.
  47. ^ Council Members. Royal College of Art. Accessed March 2015.
  48. ^ About Us – Create London.
  49. ^ "J. Paul Getty Trust Elects John Studzinski CBE to Board of Trustees". J. Paul Getty Trust. April 9, 2015.
  50. ^ Board of Directors. Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies.
  51. ^ John Studzinski. International Youth Foundation.
  52. ^ International Youth Foundation – IYF Programs. International Youth Foundation.
  53. ^ American Friends of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
  54. ^ Our Trustees. Royal Parks Foundation.
  55. ^ Benjamin Franklin House – Governance.
  56. ^ Board of Directors. Atlantic Council.
  57. ^ Membership Roster – Letter S. Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed March 2015.
  58. ^ a b c Boyatzis, Richard and Annie McKee. Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. Harvard Business Press, 2013. p. 252.
  59. ^ Business Awards – Studzinski. Alpha Press. July 19, 2000.
  60. ^ Ganguly, Dibeyendu. "Sleepless Nights". The Economic Times. April 15, 2005.
  61. ^ Association Members. Association of Papal Orders in Great Britain.
  62. ^ Issue 58557, Supplement No. 1. The London Gazette. December 29, 2007. p. 8.
  63. ^ Rayner, Gordon. "Prince of Wales awards medals to country's leading donors to the arts". The Telegraph. November 13, 2014.
  64. ^ Handy, Charles. The New Philanthropists. Random House, 2011. p. 199.

External links[edit]