Chad Pike, still in his thirties, is running Blackstone's real estate operations in Europe, making him one of the youngest stars in the asset class. Though he is often compared to two other young guns—his counterpart in the US, Jon Gray, and the co-head of Morgan Stanley Real Estate, John Carrafiell—it is Pike's unique position in the relatively inefficient European property markets that gets him the nod.
Pike, along with Gray, has “moved Blackstone away from just big office buildings and hotels in Chicago, Paris or London into buying entire companies,” says one source. Under his watch, Blackstone has invested in new areas such as development projects, student housing, pubs and German residential properties. His highestprofile deals have included the €1.3 billion acquisition of WCM Beteiligungs' German residential portfolio, as well as the joint acquisitions with Blackstone's private equity team of pub chain Spirit Group, UK nursing home operator NHP and theme park owner Center Parcs.
“We are trying to figure out where we can get in front of the big wave,” Pike said in 2004.
These days, Pike and his team have plenty of capital to catch the perfect ride. Earlier this year, Blackstone raised the largest opportunity fund ever, Blackstone Real Estate Partners V, which closed on $5.3 billion. Last year, the firm also raised €1.6 billion for its second European property vehicle.