Apollo taps Azelby to lead real assets

The former JPMorgan executive is overseeing a new platform that will include Apollo’s $12bn real estate business.

Joe Azelby joined Apollo Global Management on Monday to lead a new unit, the alternative investment firm said on its first-quarter earnings call Friday.

The former managing director and chief executive of the global real assets group at JPMorgan Asset Management stepped down from his role in February after 30 years at the New York-based asset management firm, PERE previously reported.

In his new position at Apollo, Azelby is the global head of real assets, a new platform that includes real estate and other unspecified asset classes.

“Joe will oversee our existing real estate debt and equity strategies and will work closely with our team to pursue complementary growth opportunities within the real assets arena more broadly,” Josh Harris, an Apollo co-founder, said during the earnings call.

An Apollo spokesman declined further comment.

The New York-based firm, which managed $197.5 billion overall, oversaw $3.1 billion in real estate equity and $8.9 billion in debt as of March 31, according to its first-quarter earnings report. Real estate comprises a number of individual platforms, including Apollo’s various debt and equity funds. It also forms part of the firm’s portfolio of legacy assets that came with its purchase of Citi Property Investors, Citigroup’s real estate investment management business, in 2010.

Apollo’s US Real Estate Fund II, which had $826 million in committed capital, generated a 17 percent net internal rate of return as of March 31, while the firm’s debt vehicle, AGRE Debt Fund I, had a 6 percent net IRR.

Apollo’s new real assets head joins the firm after significant experience in JPMAM’s real assets evolution. As CEO of GRA, Azelby led a team of 500 investment professionals in 20 cities around the world managing over $95 billion in assets. The group invests across the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and Brazil.

Azelby, who led the group since 1998, is considered a pioneer in the real assets space, having overseen the transformation of JPMorgan’s US real estate business into a global real assets investment platform. The former Buffalo Bills linebacker joined JPMorgan in 1986 as a managing director, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Azelby’s role at JPMAM was not replaced. Instead, the various businesses within GRA – which include real estate, infrastructure and maritime investments, now report to Anton Pil and Chris Hayward, co-managing partners of JPMAM’s global alternatives division.