Blackstone makes Caplan RE number two

The firm’s former head of Europe will become Jonathan Gray’s deputy as he takes on a new chief investment officer role for the New York private real estate investment giant.

The Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private real estate investment firms with $80 billion of assets under management, has promoted its head of Europe to be its second most senior real estate professional.

The firm said in a statement that it had promoted Kenneth Caplan, previously its head of Europe, to the new role of global chief investment officer, effectively making him deputy to Blackstone’s head of real estate, Jonathan Gray.

Anthony Myers, a senior managing director, has been promoted to head of Europe, assuming the responsibilities that Caplan left behind.

Gray said in a statement: “With the increasing size and scale of our real estate business, it is only natural that we are tapping two 15-year-plus veterans of the firm to take on additional responsibility.”

The executive shuffle within Blackstone’s real estate business comes at a time when it is the biggest contributor to the firm’s profits. Having navigated the global financial crisis successfully, the firm has raised more capital for private real estate investments than any other since. 

It was ranked number one in the PERE 50 ranking of private equity real estate firms, which tracks capital raised in the last five years for private equity real estate investment strategies, having compiled more than $32 billion in that timeframe. That number was almost three times the amount raised by the second-placed firm in the ranking, Lone Star Funds.

Since 2009, following the global financial crisis, it has invested in, or committed almost $41 billion of equity, again comfortably more than its rivals.

The firm is currently in the process of bringing to the market the latest in its series of global opportunity funds, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII, for which it wants as much as $13 billion, the same amount it raised for the series’ seventh fund which closed at the end of 2012.