Apollo’s $200B Credit Group Creates New Executive Job

John Zito will become deputy CIO, as the private equity firm’s largest business looks to grow.

Apollo headquarters (right) in New York City. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

Apollo headquarters (right) in New York City.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

John Zito, co-head of Apollo’s global corporate credit division, is taking on the additional roles of senior partner and deputy chief investment officer of the $200 billion unit, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Zito, who joined Apollo in 2012, will continue to report to Jim Zelter, co-president of Apollo and chief investment officer of Apollo’s credit group. Zito will also continue to run global corporate credit with Joe Moroney, also a senior partner, the person said.

In the newly created role, Zito will help to grow the business and manage investment committee processes, risk parameters, and portfolio allocations across the group, according to the person.

Zito has helped to build up Apollo’s credit strategy fund from $100 million to $3 billion and grew its Accord fund platform from nothing to $2.5 billion.

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Zito joined Apollo after five years as a managing director and portfolio manager at Brencourt Advisors, a multistrategy hedge fund. At Brencourt, he ran the firm’s credit investments, including the Brencourt Credit Opportunities Fund.

Apollo runs one of the largest alternative credit businesses in the world, managing assets across some 20 strategies.

Like other private equity firms, Apollo got serious about its credit business after the financial crisis, when banks were forced by regulators to step back from lending money to companies that lacked the highest credit ratings.

Apollo was also among the first to see the opportunity in insurance, buying blocks of business when sellers were desperate and no one wanted to touch the sector. Few wanted to deal with the complex and highly regulated portfolios, which are primarily composed of fixed-income instruments.

The insurance strategy was a move true to form: Apollo, whose private equity funds have generated a 25 percent net internal rate of return since inception, has earned a reputation for buying troubled properties at a time when they are unpopular.