Meet the 8 Blackstone dealmakers who insiders say are the firm's future
Blackstone, with $545 billion of assets under management, has its hands in everything from real estate, to private equity, credit, and hedge funds.
Business Insider spoke with industry insiders, including recruiters, bankers, and competitors to compile a list of rising dealmakers at the private equity giant.
It seems the Blackstone Group, with more than half a trillion in assets, owns just about everything.
Whether you're spending a night in a hotel or just going to the office, there's a good chance you're inhabiting space owned, at least in part, by Blackstone.
In real estate alone, the firm has $154 billion of assets under management, comprised of office, hotel, retail and residential properties.
Its ever-expanding portfolio of companies also includes businesses from mobile advertising to data analytics, to firms that create the world's roads, tunnels, and wind farms.
Read more: Goldman Sachs' push into private equity is ruffling feathers at Blackstone — and it might be a sign of big client skirmishes to come
While everyone knows the bold-face names behind Blackstone's dealmaking prowess like CEO Stephen Schwarzman and his lieutenant Tony James, there's a younger generation of scrappy upstarts helping shape some of the firm's biggest deals.
Business Insider spoke with industry insiders, including recruiters, sponsor bankers and competitors, to compile a list of rising dealmakers at Blackstone.
These professionals do not currently lead entire divisions at the firm, though some run smaller units. Most work alongside the firm's star players as a supporting cast, but their peers predict greatness ahead. Whatever their roles, sources expressed confidence that they may just become some of the firm's most successful dealmakers.
[A quick note on methodology: the list reflects only dealmakers based in the United States and does not include investment professionals across Blackstone's lines of credit, hedge fund and insurance solutions.]Eli Nagler, managing director in the private equity group
Nagler spent this summer in London where he and a Blackstone team completed the $27 billion sale of Refinitiv to the London Stock Exchange.
Nagler is only 34 and was in on the ground floor of the final closing at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, supporting the deal's lead, Martin Brand.
Nagler's name came up almost immediately when we started asking New York financial industry sources about who they would place their bets on to be the future of Blackstone.
A graduate of Harvard Business School, Nagler joined Blackstone in 2007 and has been involved in a wide range of investments, particularly in the financial services and technology, media and telecom sectors.
This includes the purchase of online payments company Paysafe Group for $3.9 billion and the sale of Lendmark Financial Services LLC to private equity firm Lightyear Capital LLC for about $600 million.
Fun Fact: He also had his wedding written up in The New York Times in 2017 and it looks like both sides to the Harvard MBA power couple are on a fast-track to the top on Wall Street -- his wife, Miriam Tawil, is a managing director at Centerbridge.
Anushka Sunder, principal in private equity group
No stranger to the pages of Business Insider, Sunder was recognized in our 2018 Rising Stars of Wall Street list.
Sunder came up yet again in the list of names dropped by sources as someone who shows promise of rising the Blackstone ranks.
A Harvard Business School graduate, Sunder began her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs before moving over to TPG Capital as an associate.
Ever since she joined Blackstone in 2013, Sunder has stayed busy working on investments in healthcare and technology sectors.
She serves on the board of directors at JDA Software, a software and consultancy company Blackstone and other investors gave a $575 million equity investment.
She is also a director at Optiv, a cyber security solutions company Blackstone acquired in 2016.
Sunder told Business Insider that her career advice is to develop your own style rather than imitate others, find people who invest in you, and to be determined and optimistic.
David Kestnbaum, managing director in the private equity group
Kestnbaum has made a name for himself in Blackstone's "core" private equity investments, or deals that are low-leverage and low-risk.
His nomination is also timely, having been behind some of Blackstone's most recent investments.
This includes Blackstone's 2019 recapitalization of SERVPRO, a franchisor of property damage restoration services, as well as the acquisition of PSAV, a large events planning company.
Kestnbaum was described by one source as one of Blackstone's younger managing directors who has demonstrated "a lot of influence," particularly in the firm's longer term investments.
Kestnbaum never got an MBA. He received a BA in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went straight into finance, joining the financial sponsor group at JPMorgan as an analyst and then serving as vice president at Vestar Capital Partners until he joined Blackstone in 2013.
David Kaden, principal in the tactical opportunities group
Kaden has been identified internally at Blackstone as a standout performer in a unit devoted to deals that are time-sensitive, complex, or in dislocated markets where it believes risk is fundamentally mispriced.
Called Tactical Opportunities or Tac Opps for short, Kaden's works with a group of about 60 colleagues to identify and execute such deals.
In that effort, Kaden has been involved in a smattering of deals: Blackstone's acquisition of jewelry company Diamonds Direct, the financing of Vancouver-based mining company, Lundin Gold, and the acquisition of data classification provider, TITUS.
Kaden's resume doesn't fit the traditional private equity path. Before joining Blackstone in 2015, he worked in the White House as director for International Economics on the National Security Council and National Economic Council.
He previously served as the assistant chief of staff to President Barack Obama and the CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Kaden went to Yale Law School and then clerked with the Honorable Jose A Cabranes in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, before joining the White House.
Brian Kim, managing director in the real estate group
Kim is one of the more senior Blackstone members on our list of up and coming dealmakers.
He is already the head of acquisitions and capital markets of Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, which invests primarily in commercial real estate properties in a number of sectors, with a focus on providing current income to investors.
Among the bigger deals Kim has been involved was the take-private and subsequent 2016 sale of Strategic Hotel & Resorts to China's Anbang Insurance Group for $6.5 billion. Another came a year before that, when Blackstone bought Manhattan's Stuyvesant Town for $5.3 billion.
More recently, in 2018, his group made a $1.8 billion acquisition of Canyon Industrial Portfolio, a network of warehouses and distributions buildings throughout Dallas, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Florida.
Scott Trebilco, managing director in the real estate group
If you see Blackstone buying a hotel or resort, chances are Trebilco is involved.
Another senior member of the real estate group, he focuses on new investment opportunities in the hospitality sector.
Deals where he has taken the lead include a collection throughout 2018: the acquisitions of Turtle Bay Resort, Ritz Carlton Kapalua, and W Marriott San Antonio.
At an October 2018 conference, he said Blackstone was buying more hotels than it's selling, but that he wants to be a "bigger net buyer."
This year, Blackstone sold Boca Raton Resort & Club to billionaire Michael Dell for $461.6 million.
Here's hoping Trebilco can help keep up the Blackstone buying streak.
Phillip Solomond, managing director in the infrastructure group
Blackstone just announced that it has raised $14 billion to invest in projects that improve the world's roads, tunnels, wind plants and other infrastructure projects.
Much of that work will fall on Blackstone veteran Solomond.
Solomond joined Blackstone in 2008 after working at Morgan Stanley as an analyst in the real estate group, analyzing a variety of investment banking and private equity transactions.
One of the big early deals he worked was the 2011 acquisition of Brixmor Property Group, an owner of neighborhood shopping centers, which Blackstone later took public in 2013.
Around the same time period, he was involved in the recapitalization of mall company, General Growth Properties, helping it emerge from bankruptcy.
This year, Solomond was involved in the purchase of a minority stake in Carrix Inc., the operator of ports and rail yards in more than 250 locations around the globe.
It also looks like he'll get to see how one of the largest companies he helped buy has panned out: the 2014 acquisition of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Blackstone is reportedly exploring the sale of the Cosmopolitan after buying it for $1.7 billion and then sinking another $500 million into finishing and renovating the property. Media reports say the hotel could have a $4 billion price tag.
Mark Burton, managing director in strategic partners
Burton joined Blackstone in 2014 to lead its real estate secondaries practice and hit the ground running.
In less than two years, he acquired a massive portfolio of secondary real estate fund interests from the California Public Employees' Retirement System.
The deal, valued at $3 billion, was the largest known real estate secondary transaction.
The momentum set the stage for Blackstone's fundraising for secondaries across a number of sectors, including infrastructure and private equity.
In June, Blackstone announced that it had closed its eighth fund devoted to secondaries at $11.1 billion.
Prior to joining Blackstone, Burton was a managing director at H/2 Capital Partners LLC where he focused on distressed commercial mortgage investments.