Blackstone’s Gray joins the world’s 500 richest as stocks soar

(Bloomberg) — Jon Gray of Blackstone Group Inc. joined the world’s 500 richest people, while the alternative asset manager’s shares have surged amid a wave of deals and strong gains.

Gray, 51, who joined the company right after college and has risen to president and chief operating officer, has a fortune of $5.9 billion, up more than 50% this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is the 495th richest person in the world and the 159th in the US

Though now entrenched among the ultra-wealthy, Gray’s fortune lags behind that of Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, who is worth $33.2 billion according to the Bloomberg rankings.

A spokesperson for Blackstone said Gray declined to comment.

Gray joined Blackstone in 1992 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in economics and English. After starting work on M&A pitch books and ordering dinners for employees, he was chosen to help get the company’s fledgling real estate unit off the ground and by 2005, he was helping run that business.

Gray, who took up his current position in 2018, owns more than 41 million shares and partnership units in Blackstone. He and his wife Mindy have donated more than $100 million to cancer-related causes, including support for the Basser Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019, Gray donated $10 million to his alma mater to support 10 New York City students annually and provide funding to low-income and first-generation college students.

Read more: ​Blackstone junior employees love this $100,000 perk

Shares of Blackstone are up about 12% this week and 72% since the start of the year as the pandemic has presented investment opportunities. The company committed a record $28 billion in new deals in the second quarter, it said Thursday, including multibillion-dollar investments in Medline Industries and Home Partners of America.

The rise in share price has pushed Blackstone’s total market value to $134 billion, or about $2 billion more than Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

(Philanthropy updates in sixth paragraph.)

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