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Leon Black steps down as CEO of Apollo over payments to Jeffrey Epstein

Leon Black steps down as CEO of Apollo over payments to Jeffrey Epstein

Although Mr. Black started Apollo with his younger partners – Mr. Harris is 56 and Mr. Rowan 58 – he has long been the face and voice of the company.

By building Apollo into a global financial powerhouse, Mr. Black made enormous fortunes of himself and his founders: his personal fortune is estimated at more than $ 8 billion, and he owns a huge private art collection – including a copy of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” – and President of the Museum of Modern Art. .

But when Apollo made its most recent earnings call in late October, there were already signs that his dealings with Mr Epstein were causing ripples, both at the company and among investors. In an unusual move, Mr. Black read a brief statement on the Epstein issue before handing over the meeting to Mr. Harris and Mr. Rowan.

Apollo has long specialized in buying and retooling distressed businesses, but it also boasts significant credit, infrastructure and real estate business. Mr. Rowan was the driving force behind the thriving insurance business of Apollo and its insurer, Athene Holding, which has boosted Wall Street’s profits in recent years.

At one point, both Mr. Rowan and Mr. Harris were seen as the apparent heirs of Mr. Black. But with Mr Rowan’s decision to pull out of day-to-day affairs, many on Wall Street assumed the job would fall to Mr Harris, who manages the nuts and bolts of the vast Apollo acquisition.

Mr. Harris, who is the owner of the Philadelphia 76rs basketball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team, said he would fully support Mr. Rowan as CEO. “I will focus on expanding our global search for investor returns, which is the core of our success,” he said in a statement.

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As the only three members of Apollo’s executive committee, the founders wield significant influence over the company. As of now, the decision to name Mr. Rowan as Mr. Black’s successor does not require the approval of the Company’s Board of Directors. And all three men – who have much of their net worth tied up in the company – have a vested interest in the stability of the company.