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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Steve Schwarzman Replants His Flag as Fund Nears Close

Stephen A. Schwarzman

Private equity titan Stephen A. Schwarzman, who co-founded The Blackstone Group and remains its chairman and CEO, relocated to Paris in January of this year. The reasons for the move ranged from increased global opportunity; to the buyers’ market created by sovereign uncertainty; to more proximity to the European continent and Asia.

In actuality, the move was prompted by two things. The first – his involvement with fundraising for the firm’s latest real-estate vehicle. Schwarzman spent 200 of 2010’s 365 days on the road, mostly in Europe and the Middle East.

The second was his wife, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. With so much time on the road, former lawyer Christine Hearst Schwarzman negotiated quite a contract: Six months in the City of Lights, allowing better access to Asia and Europe as a whole — and more face time, these people said.

Schwarzman’s study abroad came to an end earlier this year around the real estate fund’s first close, which brought in around $4 billion. Total investor commitments are expected to top the previous fund’s $10 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Blackstone spokesperson declined to comment.

Schwarzman would frequently videoconference in to the New York office for meetings and would appear in person about once a month. On the company’s earnings call for the fourth-quarter of 2010, Schwarzman told analysts that taking 2 a.m. calls from NYC wasn’t all joie de vivre: “I think someone’s getting an extra six hours out of me.”

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