Inside the rise of Blackstone's Jon Grey, the mastermind behind a bold transformation that's won unlikely fans like Bumble and Oatly

Jim Spellman/Getty; Stlaven Vlasic/Getty; Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU; Skye Gould/InsiderBlackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman and Tony James have largely handed over the reins to Jon Grey
  • Jon Grey is Blackstone’s No. 2, and has already ushered in a massive transformation under his watch.
  • Grey helped put together Blackstone’s deal for Bumble, the dating app that’s now gearing up for an IPO.
  • We talked to 50 insiders to understand the rise of Grey and what it means for the private-equity giant.

It was a meeting that Jon Grey couldn’t miss.

So when his transatlantic flight touched down in the early hours of a September 2019 morning, the president and chief operating officer of the nearly $US600 billion alternative-asset manager Blackstone told his driver to head straight to the company’s headquarters on Park Avenue rather than his home on the Upper East Side.

Grey and Blackstone’s co-founder and CEO Stephen Schwarzman had a breakfast planned with Whitney Wolfe Herd, the young founder of Bumble — a dating app where women make the first move, and just the type of hip, fast-growing company in which Blackstone has increasingly sought to stake its own continued expansion.

Herd, was 29 at the time. Grey, a youthful 49, boundlessly affable, and the billionaire No. 2 at the world’s largest private-equity firm, cast a different image from the traditional buyout titan.

Two months later, Blackstone would purchase a majority share of MagicLab in a deal that valued it at $US3 billion and promoted Herd as the new CEO. By January 2021, the dating app filed for a public offering that could double that valuation or more — creating a blockbuster exit for Blackstone in the span of just over a year.

Winning over hot businesses that have their pick of investors has become one of Grey’s most visible successes in the three years since stepping into the role of president and COO at the firm.

Insider talked with 50 people who know Grey about his path to the top of firm. They revealed sides of Grey that few people outside of Blackstone have seen, including the tireless focus, drive to perform, and unbridled ambition behind his calm and amicable exterior.

SUBSCRIBE NOW TO READ THE FULL STORY: Jon Grey is the future of Blackstone. 50 insiders reveal how the superinvestor consolidated power, elbowed out rivals, and is remaking the firm in his golden-boy image.

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