Leon Black

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Leon Black
Born
Leon David Black

(1951-07-31) July 31, 1951 (age 70)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materDartmouth College
Harvard University
OccupationPrivate equity investor and art collector
Known forCo-founder of Apollo Management
Spouse(s)Debra Ressler
Children4
Parent(s)
FamilyTony Ressler (brother-in-law)
Benedict I. Lubell (uncle)
Grace Borgenicht Brandt (aunt)

Leon David Black (born July 31, 1951)[1] is an American investor, best known as the co-founder, and former-CEO of private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Black stepped down as CEO and chairman in 2021 after revelations that he paid Jeffrey Epstein $158 million for family office tax-related advice over the period from 2012 to 2017.[2][3]

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 (sister of Tulsa oil executive Benedict I. Lubell) was an artist.[4] 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.[4][5] Black received an AB in philosophy and history from Dartmouth College in 1973 and a MBA from Harvard University in 1975.[4] He served on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College from 2002 to 2011.[6] In 2012, Black gave US$48 million toward a new visual arts center at Dartmouth College.[7]

Career[edit]

Black started out as an accountant at Peat Marwick (which later became KPMG) and with the publisher of Boardroom Reports. He also interviewed at Lehman Brothers but was told that he didn't have the brains or personality to succeed on Wall Street.[8] From 1977 to 1990, 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.[9] Black was regarded as "junk bond king" Michael Milken's right-hand man at Drexel.[10] In 1990, he co-founded, on the heels of the collapse of Drexel Burnham Lambert, the private equity firm Apollo Global Management.[11][12] 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.[13][14][15]

Black stepped down as CEO of Apollo in 2021 due to his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He remained chairman for several months but stepped down abruptly in March 2021.[16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Black is married to Debra Ressler,[18] a 1976 Barnard College graduate and Broadway producer and sister of Ares Management co-founder Antony Ressler.[19][20][21] They have four children.[22] Black's wife is a melanoma survivor. In 2007, the couple donated $25 million to form the new Melanoma Research Alliance.[23] Leon and Debra both serve on the board of the organization.[24]

In 2018, he was elected as the chairman of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.[8][25]

Epstein relationship[edit]

Black said that he maintained a "limited relationship" with Jeffrey Epstein.[26] In 1997, he made Epstein one of the original trustees of what is today the Debra and Leon Black Foundation.[27] In his 2020 letter to Apollo investors, Black said that Epstein provided him with "estate planning, tax and philanthropic advice" to his "family partnership and other related family entities".[28] The New York Times reported that Black had paid Epstein at least $50 million for such services from 2012 to 2017.[27] While Black has not confirmed the $50 million sum reported by The Times, he did say that he paid Epstein "millions of dollars annually for his work".[29] In October 2020, Black requested that the Apollo board conduct an independent review of his relationship with Epstein, and it retained the law firm Dechert LLP to do so.[30][31] Black has never been accused of any illegal conduct or wrongdoing related to his association with Epstein, and has said that he "deeply regrets" his relationship with Epstein.[32]

The review conducted by Dechert LLP was released on January 25, 2021. It showed that Black had paid Epstein around $158 million from 2012 through 2017 for financial services.[33] Using Epstein's tax avoidance strategies, Black saved at least $1.3 billion.[34]

Affair[edit]

In 2021, Black admitted to having what he called a "consensual affair" with Guzel Ganieva, a former model.[35] She claimed in a series of March 2021 tweets that "I was sexually harassed and abused by him for years [and ultimately] forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement under duress".[36][37][38][39][40] Black has denied the allegations, describing them as "categorically untrue".[41]

Book publisher[edit]

In 2012, Black acquired Phaidon Press, a fine art books publisher. Apollo Global Management had no role in the purchase; it was an investment Black made privately.[42]

Art collection[edit]

0
The Scream by Edvard Munch

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 as of that time.[43] In September 2012, The Museum of Modern Art announced the painting would go on view for a six-month period starting in October.[44]

In June 2013, it was revealed that Leon Black had purchased Head of a Young Apostle, an 11-inch-wide (28 cm) work by Raphael for £29 million after a four-party bidding war.[45]

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.[46] According to a press release from the Sotheby's auction house, the sale is "a new world auction record for any piece of Judaica."[47]

In June 2016, a lawsuit over the Picasso sculpture Bust of a Woman (Marie-Thérèse) between the advisory firm Pelham Europe and art gallery owner Larry Gagosian was settled. Pelham Europe, an agent for a member of Qatar's royal family, and Gagosian, who had resold the bust to Leon Black, both claimed ownership. The case was settled by Maya Widmaier-Picasso, the owner of the sculpture. The settlement included Leon Black getting the sculpture and Widmaier Picasso paying Pelham an undisclosed amount.[48]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index – Leon Black". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  2. ^ Foy, Simon (March 22, 2021). "Hedge fund boss quits over Epstein ties - live updates". Telegraph Media Group Limited.
  3. ^ "Why did Leon Black pay $158m to Jeffrey Epstein?". Financial Times. January 26, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Creswell, Julie (December 6, 2008). "In Private Equity, the Limits of Apollo's Power". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 6, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  5. ^ St. Petersburg Times: "Violent Death Contradicted Executives' Quiet Life" by Peter T. Kilbourne Archived October 27, 2018, at the Wayback Machine February 19, 1975.
  6. ^ "Trustees Emeriti". Dartmouth College. Archived from the original on October 30, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  7. ^ Lattman, Peter (March 29, 2012). "Apollo's Leon Black Donates $48 Million to Dartmouth". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Melby, Caleb; Perlberg, Heather (January 16, 2020). "Nobody Makes Money Like Apollo's Ruthless Founder Leon Black". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on July 18, 2020. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  9. ^ Leon D. Black '73 Archived November 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine from Dartmouth College
  10. ^ "King of the Hill". Time. June 24, 2001. Archived from the original on August 8, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  11. ^ Maza, Erik (March 4, 2014). "Bernard Arnault Receives MoMa's David Rockefeller Award". WWD. Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  12. ^ Drexel Divided on Settlement. New York Times, December 17, 1988.
  13. ^ Ex-Drexel Executives Arrange Aid for Fruit of the Loom, August 24, 1990.
  14. ^ Changes at Drexel Continue. New York Times, March 11, 1989.
  15. ^ Drexel's Uncertain Future Archived October 27, 2020, at the Wayback Machine. New York Times, October 15, 1989.
  16. ^ Gottfried, Miriam (March 22, 2021). "Leon Black Steps Down as Apollo Chairman in Unexpected Move". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  17. ^ Vandevelde, Mark (January 25, 2021). "Leon Black steps down as chief executive of Apollo". The Financial Times. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  18. ^ New York Times: "Paid Notice: Deaths RESSLER, IRA RICHARD" Archived November 7, 2017, at the Wayback Machine October 29, 2000.
  19. ^ Bloomberg: "Leon Black Loses to Carl Icahn as Apollo Sets New Credit Terms" By Anthony Effinger & Cristina Alesci Archived December 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine July 7, 2010.
  20. ^ "Alumnae in the News Archive". our.barnard.edu. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  21. ^ Barnard College (September 1999). Barnard. Barnard College. Barnard College.
  22. ^ The 400 Richest Americans #160 Leon Black Archived January 30, 2018, at the Wayback Machine (Forbes, 2006)
  23. ^ Wall Street Journal: "Melanoma Survivor Seeks Cure" By LAURA LANDRO Archived November 9, 2017, at the Wayback Machine May 3, 2010.
  24. ^ "Board of Directors". Melanoma Research Alliance. Archived from the original on April 13, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Museum of Modern Art Elects Leon D. Black Chairman of Board of Trustees; Ronnie Heyman is Elected President". press.moma.org (Press release). May 30, 2018. Archived from the original on January 28, 2020. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  26. ^ Adler, Dan. "Leon Black, Who Reportedly Wired Jeffrey Epstein Millions of Dollars, Says He Regrets "Any Involvement"". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  27. ^ a b Goldstein, Matthew; Eder, Steve; Enrich, David (October 13, 2020). "The Billionaire Who Stood by Jeffrey Epstein". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on October 13, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  28. ^ Primack, Dan. "Wall Street billionaire Leon Black to investors: "I deeply regret" Epstein involvement". Axios. Archived from the original on October 15, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  29. ^ Basu (Axios), Zach. "Investor Letter". www.documentcloud.org. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  30. ^ Gottfried, Miriam (October 21, 2020). "WSJ News Exclusive | Apollo Board Panel to Review Leon Black's Ties With Jeffrey Epstein". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  31. ^ Goldstein, Matthew (October 20, 2020). "Apollo Board Will Review Leon Black's Ties to Jeffrey Epstein". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  32. ^ "Leon Black Says 'I Deeply Regret' Involvement With Epstein". Bloomberg.com. October 12, 2020. Archived from the original on October 18, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  33. ^ Go ldstein, Matthew; Rosman, Katherine (January 25, 2021). "Apollo C.E.O. to Step Down After Firm Finds More Payments to Jeffrey Epstein". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  34. ^ Paulden, Pierre; Steverman, Ben (January 27, 2021). "What billionaire Leon Black got for paying Jeffrey Epstein $US158m". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  35. ^ Duffy, Kate (April 9, 2021). "Wall Street billionaire Leon Black denied sexual-harassment allegations made by a former model and said he paid her to keep the 'affair' quiet". Business Insider. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  36. ^ "Leon Black Admits Paying Woman to Keep Affair Quiet, Denies It Led to Sudden Apollo Exit". Institutional Investor. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  37. ^ Duffy, Kate. "Wall Street billionaire Leon Black denied sexual-harassment allegations made by a former model and said he paid her to keep the 'affair' quiet". Business Insider. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  38. ^ "Black Says He Paid to Hide Affair, Denies It Led to Apollo Exit". Bloomberg.com. April 9, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  39. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross; Karaian, Jason; Kessler, Sarah; Merced, Michael J. de la; Hirsch, Lauren; Livni, Ephrat (April 9, 2021). "A New Unicorn Takes Shape". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  40. ^ Kosman, Josh (April 9, 2021). "Leon Black's surprise Apollo Global exit came amid sexual harassment allegation". New York Post. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  41. ^ "Leon Black Sued by Woman Who Alleges Defamation, Sexual Violence". Bloomberg.
  42. ^ Lattman, Peter (October 9, 2012). "Billionaire Financier Leon Black Buys Art Publisher Phaidon". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 15, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  43. ^ "Munch's "The Scream" Sold to Financier Leon Black". Wall Street Journal. July 11, 2012. Archived from the original on January 4, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  44. ^ "Edvard Munch's The Scream to go on show in New York". BBC News. September 18, 2012. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  45. ^ 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. Archived from the original on March 12, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  46. ^ "Tablet Magazine". December 22, 2015. Archived from the original on December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  47. ^ "Daniel Bomberg's 16th-century printing of the Talmud sells for $9.3 mill". Art Daily. Archived from the original on February 7, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  48. ^ Kazakina, Katya (June 15, 2016). "Leon Black Wins Picasso's 'Bust of a Woman' as Legal Drama Ends". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on September 21, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
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