EXCLUSIVE-Blackstone's Hill hands hedge fund reins to McCormick

BOSTON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - After nearly two decades of growing Blackstone Group into the world's biggest hedge fund investor with some $74 billion in assets, J. Tomilson Hill is passing the baton.

Blackstone has promoted John McCormick to president and chief executive of Blackstone's hedge fund unit Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (BAAM) and Hill will become its chairman, the company told Reuters on Thursday. The change is effective immediately. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, editing by Carmel Crimmins and Bill Rigby)