Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms with over $500 billion in assets under management. He is an active philanthropist, with a history of transformative giving in support of education, culture, and the arts, among other areas. In 2019, Schwarzman published What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, a New York Times best seller which draws on his experiences in business, philanthropy and public service.
Folding handkerchiefs in his father’s linen shop, Schwarzman dreamed of a larger life, filled with purpose and adventure. His grades and athleticism got him into Yale.
After starting his career in finance with a short stint at a financial firm called DLJ, Schwarzman began working at Lehman Brothers where he ascended to run the mergers and acquisitions practice. He eventually partnered with his mentor and friend Pete Peterson to found Blackstone, vowing to create a new and different kind of financial institution.
Building Blackstone into the leading global financial institution it is today didn’t come easy. Schwarzman focused intensely on culture, hiring great talent, and establishing processes that allow the firm to systematically analyze and evaluate risk. Schwarzman’s simple mantra “don’t lose money” has helped Blackstone become a leading private equity and real estate investor, and manager of alternative assets for institutional investors globally. Both he and the firm are known for the rigor of their investment process, their innovative approach to deal making, the diversification of their business lines, and a conviction to be the best at everything they do.
Schwarzman is also an active philanthropist, having given away more than a billion dollars. In philanthropy, as in business, he is drawn to situations where his capital and energy can be applied to drive transformative solutions and change paradigms. His major gifts have helped establish a new center at the University of Oxford to redefine the study of the humanities for the 21st century, create a new college at MIT dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, build a first-of-its-kind student center at Yale, renovate and expand the New York Public Library, and found an international fellowship program, Schwarzman Scholars, at Tsinghua University in Beijing to educate future leaders about China.
In 2007, Mr. Schwarzman was included in TIME’s “100 Most Influential People.” In 2016, he topped Forbes Magazine’s list of the most influential people in finance and in 2018 was ranked in the Top 50 on Forbes’ list of the “World’s Most Powerful People.” The Republic of France has awarded Mr. Schwarzman both the Légion d’Honneur and the Ordre des Arts et des Letters at the Commandeur level. Mr. Schwarzman is one of the only Americans to receive both awards recognizing significant contributions to France. He was also awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle in 2018, Mexico’s highest honor for foreigners. He is also the Former Chairman of the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, which was charged with providing direct input to the President of the United States from business leaders through a non-partisan, non-bureaucratic exchange of ideas.
Mr. Schwarzman holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Yale School of Management and on the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors.