Apollo hires former Realogy chief as COO

Former Blackstone partner and Saul Steinberg protegee Henry Silverman will become the firm’s first chief operating officer. In 2007, he sold the reportedly now insolvent real estate company Realogy to Apollo for $8.5bn.

Henry Silverman

Apollo Global Management has hired as its chief operating officer Wall Street veteran Henry Silverman, who sold the firm the struggling real estate giant Realogy for $8.5 billion in 2007.

Silverman has a long and storied past in the finance industry. He worked at Reliance Group Holdings in the 1980s under corporate raider Saul Steinberg. In the early 1990s, he was a partner at The Blackstone Group. Among his notable deals there was the rollup of several struggling hotel chains into the highly profitable Hospitality Franchise Systems.

In 1991, he took HFS public and left Blackstone to be HFS’s chief executive, later expanding HFS into real estate and rental cars. In 1997, he merged HFS with direct marketing company CUC to form Cendant. Eventually, he broke Cendant apart and sold the real estate business, Realogy, to Apollo in April 2007 for $8.5 billion.

That investment, the parent to Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and Sotheby's International Realty, is reportedly one of Apollo’s most vulnerable holdings.

Realogy creditor High River, the investment company of activist investor Carl Icahn, sued Apollo in December 2008 claiming that a debt swap Realogy was attempting to orchestrate violated the terms of its credit agreements. In the case, Icahn claimed that calculating back from the value of its debt, Realogy’s liabilities now exceed its assets by anywhere from $3 billion to as much as $7.3 billion.