Blackstone’s Gray Joins World’s 500 Richest as Shares Soar

(Bloomberg) — Blackstone Group Inc.’s Jon Gray joined the ranks of the world’s 500 wealthiest people as shares of the alternative-asset manager have soared amid a flurry of dealmaking and strong earnings.

Gray, 51, who started at the firm right out of 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 ranks as the 495th richest person in the world and the 159th in the U.S.

While now entrenched among the ultra-wealthy, Gray’s fortune still trails that of Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, who’s worth $33.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg ranking.

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 off working on M&A pitch books and ordering dinner for associates, he was chosen to help get the firm’s fledgling real estate unit off the ground and by 2005 was helping run that business.

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

Read more: Blackstone’s Junior Employees Just Love This $100,000 Perk

Blackstone’s shares have risen about 12% this week and 72% since the beginning of the year as the pandemic has presented investing opportunities. The company committed a record $28 billion of capital to new deals in the second quarter, it said Thursday, including multibillion-dollar investments in Medline Industries and Home Partners of America.

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

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(Updates with philanthropy in sixth paragraph.)

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