Stephen Schwarzman is an American businessman and philanthropist who is best known for being the co-founder and CEO of Blackstone Group, a private equity firm that he helped build into one of the largest and most successful alternative asset managers in the world.
Born on February 14, 1947, to Arline and Joseph Schwarzman, Stephen Schwarzman was brought up in a Jewish family in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. Joseph owned Schwarzman’s, a former dry-goods store in Philadelphia and was an alumnus of the Wharton School.
At the age of 14, Schwarzman initiated his first business venture, a lawn-mowing operation, where he hired his younger twin brothers, Mark and Warren, for mowing and marketing purposes while he focused on attracting clients.
Schwarzman completed his high school education from Abington Senior High School, a part of the Abington School District located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in 1965. He enrolled at Yale University, where he founded the Davenport Ballet Society and was a member of senior society Skull and Bones. After graduating from Yale in 1969, he briefly served in the U.S. Army Reserve before obtaining his degree from Harvard Business School in 1972.
After graduating from Harvard, Schwarzman worked at the investment bank Lehman Brothers for several years before co-founding Blackstone Group with his partner Peter Peterson in 1985. Since then, Schwarzman has helped build Blackstone into one of the world’s largest and most successful private equity firms, with over $600 billion in assets under management as of 2021.
Following his graduation from business school, Stephen Schwarzman began his career in the financial services industry with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an investment bank that merged with Credit Suisse in 2000. Later, he worked at Lehman Brothers, where he was promoted to managing director at the young age of 31, and then went on to become the head of global mergers and acquisitions.
In 1985, Schwarzman, along with his boss Peter Peterson, founded The Blackstone Group. Initially, the firm primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions. However, Blackstone gradually expanded into other areas such as business acquisition, real estate, direct lending, alternative assets, and currently manages assets worth approximately $500 billion.
In addition to his work at Blackstone, Schwarzman is also known for his philanthropy. In 2004, Stephen A. Schwarzman donated funds to build a new football stadium for his alma mater, Abington Senior High School, which was named the Stephen A. Schwarzman Stadium. He was also named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007. Schwarzman continued his philanthropy work by contributing $100 million to the expansion of the New York Public Library in 2008, which was renamed the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in his honor. In 2018, he donated $10 million to the National Library of Israel.
In 2013, Schwarzman donated $100 million to establish the Schwarzman Scholars program in China, modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship program. He also donated $150 million to fund a campus center in Yale University’s historic “Commons” dining facility in 2015. Schwarzman is a member of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and has sat on the board of trustees of New York-Presbyterian Hospital since 2016.
Schwarzman made a $25 million donation to Abington High School. In October 2018, he donated $350 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create the Schwarzman College of Computing. The University of Oxford announced in June 2019 that Schwarzman had donated £150 million to establish the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, due to be completed for the university’s 2024–25 academic year.
In February 2020, Schwarzman signed The Giving Pledge, committing to give the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes. He also pledged $8 million to the USA Track and Field Foundation in October 2020 in preparation for the 2021 Tokyo and 2024 Paris Olympics. In December 2021, he and his wife Christine donated $25 million to the Animal Medical Center of New York, which was subsequently renamed The Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Animal Medical Center.
Overall, Stephen Schwarzman is widely regarded as one of the most successful and influential figures in the world of finance and business, and his legacy is likely to continue to have a significant impact for years to come.
Stephen Schwarzman’s net worth is estimated to be $32.5 billion. Schwarzman’s fortune is primarily derived from his stake in Blackstone Group, where he is the CEO and co-founder. Over the years, Schwarzman has sold some of his shares in the company, but he still retains a significant stake in the firm.
Stephen Schwarzman has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career. Here are some of his most notable achievements and recognitions:
These are just a few examples of the many awards and honors that Stephen Schwarzman has received in recognition of his business acumen, philanthropy, and leadership.