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Apollo Names Former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton as Independent Director

The private equity firm is expanding its board after Leon Black announced his retirement.

Apollo Global Management has named Jay Clayton, former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to fill the newly created role of lead independent director weeks after chairman Leon Black informed the board he was stepping down as chief executive officer. 

Clayton will begin serving on the private equity firm’s board at the start of March, according to a statement Thursday from Apollo. He served as SEC chairman from May 2017 through December under former President Donald Trump.

Black is retiring after Dechert ended a review of his professional dealings with registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an investigation that found Epstein regularly advised the Apollo founder on issues such as taxes but that the firm never retained him for any services. Under a leadership shakeup that will result in Marc Rowan replacing Black as CEO later this year, the private equity firm said last month that it would be expanding its board to include four new independent directors. 

“We undertook a thoughtful and deliberate process and are proud to have someone as distinguished as Jay serve in this newly created role that reflects the strong corporate governance enhancements we continue to implement,” Black said in Thursday’s statement.

Clayton was selected in part for his deep knowledge of private and public capital markets, according to Apollo. Before heading the SEC, Clayton worked at Sullivan & Cromwell for more than two decades and will soon rejoin the law firm as a senior policy advisor, the alternative investment firm said.

“I look forward to working with my fellow board members to advance Apollo’s strategy in our ever-evolving markets,” Clayton said in the firm’s announcement Thursday.

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Apollo said last month that its expanded board would include Avid Partners founder Pamela Joyner and “world-renowned” physician and scientist Siddhartha Mukherjee, who are also set to begin serving as independent directors on March 1.

“The firm will continue to expand and enhance the board with additional directors, including increasing the independence of the board,” according to Thursday’s statement. 

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