Leon Black

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This article is about the businessman. For the basketball coach, see Leon Black (basketball). For the fictional character, see List of Curb Your Enthusiasm recurring roles § Leon Black.
Leon Black
Born 1951 (age 65–66)
Residence New York, New York, U.S.
Nationality United States
Education Dartmouth College
Harvard Business School
Occupation Founder of Apollo Management
Employer Apollo Management, formerly Drexel Burnham Lambert
Net worth DecreaseUS$ 4.5 billion (February 2016)[1]
Spouse(s) Debra Ressler
Children four
Parent(s) Shirley Lubell
Eli M. Black

Leon David Black (born 1951) is an American businessman. He specializes in leveraged buyouts and private equity. He founded the private equity firm Apollo Global Management in 1990.

Early life and education[edit]

Black is a son of Eli M. Black (1921–1975), a prominent Jewish businessman who emigrated from Poland and was best known for owning the United Brands Company. His mother, Shirley Lubell, was an artist.[2] In 1975, his father committed suicide by jumping out of the 44th floor of the Pan Am Building in New York City. It was later made public that, at the time, federal regulators were investigating allegations that United Brands was bribing Honduran government officials.[2][3] Black received a BA in Philosophy and History from Dartmouth College in 1973 and a MBA from Harvard University in 1975.[2] He served on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College from 2002 to 2011.


From 1977 to 1990, Leon Black was employed by investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he served as managing director, head of the Mergers & Acquisitions Group, and co-head of the Corporate Finance Department.[4] In 1990, he co-founded, on the heels of the collapse of Drexel Burnham Lambert, the private equity firm Apollo Global Management.[5][6] Notable founders included: John Hannan, Drexel's former co-director of international finance; Craig Cogut, a lawyer who worked with Drexel's high-yield division in Los Angeles; Arthur Bilger, the former head of the Drexel's corporate finance department; Antony Ressler, who worked as a senior vice president in Drexel's high yield department with responsibility for the new issue/syndicate desk; and Marc Rowan, Josh Harris and Michael Gross, who all worked under Black in the mergers and acquisitions department.[7][8][9]

Personal life[edit]

Black is married to Debra Ressler,[10] a Broadway producer and sister of Apollo Global Management co-founder Antony Ressler.[11] They have four children.[12] Black's wife is a melanoma survivor. In 2007, the couple donated $25 million to form the new Melanoma Research Alliance. They have committed to donating another $15 million over the next three years.[13] He has a $43 million home in Southampton, New York.[14]

Art collection[edit]

Two months after the May 2012 anonymous purchase of one of four versions of Edvard Munch's The Scream, The Wall Street Journal reported that Black had been the one who had paid $119.9 million for the pastel, the highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction.[15] In September 2012, The Museum of Modern Art announced the painting would go on view for a six-month period starting in October.[16]

In June 2013, it was revealed that Leon Black had purchased Head of a Young Apostle, an 11-inch wide work by Raphael for £29 million after a four-party bidding war.[17]

On December 22, 2015, it was reported that Leon Black purchased at auction a complete set of the Daniel Bomberg Babylonian Talmud for $9.3 million.[18] According to a press release from the Sotheby's auction house, the sale is “a new world auction record for any piece of Judaica.”[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forbes: "The World's Billionaires - Leon Black" March 2014
  2. ^ a b c Creswell, Julie (December 6, 2008). "In Private Equity, the Limits of Apollo's Power". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ St. Petersburg Times: "Violent Death Contradicted Executives' Quiet Life" by Peter T. Kilbourne February 19, 1975
  4. ^ Leon D. Black '73 from Dartmouth College
  5. ^ Maza, Erik (4 March 2014). "Bernard Arnault Receives MoMa's David Rockefeller Award". WWD. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Drexel Divided on Settlement. New York Times, December 17, 1988
  7. ^ Ex-Drexel Executives Arrange Aid for Fruit of the Loom, August 24, 1990
  8. ^ Changes at Drexel Continue. New York Times, March 11, 1989
  9. ^ Drexel's Uncertain Future. New York Times, October 15, 1989
  10. ^ New York Times: "Paid Notice: Deaths RESSLER, IRA RICHARD" October 29, 2000
  11. ^ Bloomberg: "Leon Black Loses to Carl Icahn as Apollo Sets New Credit Terms" By Anthony Effinger & Cristina Alesci July 7, 2010
  12. ^ The 400 Richest Americans #160 Leon Black (Forbes, 2006)
  13. ^ Wall Street Journal: "Melanoma Survivor Seeks Cure" By LAURA LANDRO May 3, 2010
  14. ^ Daily Mail: "Billionaire Lane: From fashion designers to real estate tycoons and Wall Street financiers. Meet those who live on the East Coast's most exclusive 5-mile stretch with a private beach and helipad" By CHARLENE ADAMS May 23, 2015
  15. ^ "Munch's "The Scream" Sold to Financier Leon Black". Wall Street Journal. July 11, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Edvard Munch's The Scream to go on show in New York". BBC News. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  17. ^ Sherwin, Adam (June 20, 2013). "New York billionaire Leon Black's bid to take £29m Raphael from UK blocked by Ed Vaizey". The Independent. London. 
  18. ^ "Tablet Magazine". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  19. ^ "Daniel Bomberg's 16th-century printing of the Talmud sells for $9.3 mill". Art Daily. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 

External links[edit]