Leon Black Is Stepping Down as CEO of Apollo

Apollo announced leadership changes the same day it released results of the independent review of Black’s professional relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

Leon Black (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Leon Black

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Leon Black is leaving his role as chief executive officer of Apollo Global Management, having informed the private equity giant’s board that he will retire by the end of July.

Apollo co-founder Marc Rowan will replace Black as CEO, according to a statement Monday from the alternative asset manager. Black, who co-founded Apollo in 1990, will keep his role as chairman.

“I will retire as CEO on or before my 70th birthday in July,” Black said in the announcement. He described Apollo as “my life’s work,” saying he looks forward to supporting the firm in any way he can as chairman, including through strategic planning, growth initiatives, and investment opportunities.

Apollo separately announced Monday that an independent review of Black’s previous professional dealings with registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein concluded that “Apollo never retained Epstein for any services and Epstein never invested in any Apollo-managed funds.” While the independent review by Dechert found that Epstein had regularly advised Black on trust and estate planning, tax issues, philanthropic endeavors, and his family office operations, the law firm found no evidence that Black was involved in any way with Epstein’s criminal activities, according to Apollo.

Black paid Epstein a total $158 million for work performed over the period 2012 through 2017, according a regulatory filing made by Apollo Monday. “Black also made a $10 million donation to Gratitude America in October 2015, which was a charitable organization affiliated with Epstein,” the filing on the Dechert review says.

In July 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York obtained a federal grand jury indictment charging Epstein with sex trafficking of minors, according to a Department of Justice document dated November 2020. Epstein was arrested on the charges and found hanging in his jail cell in August 2019. The New York City chief medical examiner concluded that Epstein had committed suicide, the DOJ document says.

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In the announcement on Apollo’s leadership changes, Black cited the strength and depth of Apollo’s management team and “best-in-class governance practices.” With Rowan returning to Apollo full time, Black said it was the appropriate time to begin a transition.

“Marc started his Apollo career in our private equity business and for the past decade-plus has made significant contributions to the firm through the development of our yield and insurance platforms,” he said.