Leon Black, chairman of Apollo Global Management, has agreed to step down from his post following an independent review of his ties with disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
New York City-headquartered Apollo Global Management has appointed Jay Clayton, former US Securities and Exchange Commission chief, as non-executive chairman.
Black, who co-founded Apollo 30 years ago, said he would step down from the post to focus on his family, health, and other interests.
Black had planned to retain the role of chairman after he agreed to step down from the post of chief executive officer in January, following an independent review of his ties to the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“In the last few months, not only did we announce a transformative merger with Athene, but also expect to report that our first quarter earnings will exceed analyst consensus in all relevant measures,” Black said in a statement this morning.
“I thus view this as the ideal moment to step back and focus on my family, my wife Debra’s and my health issues, and my many other interests,” he added.
According to a report by law firm Dechert, the Apollo co-founder paid $158m to Epstein over a five-year period ending in 2017.
The report found no evidence that Black was involved in any criminal activity or had any knowledge of allegations that Epstein was running an international sex trafficking ring.
In a note sent to staff yesterday and seen by the Financial Times, Black said: “The relentless public attention and media scrutiny . . . have taken a toll on my health and have caused me to wish to take some time away from the public spotlight.” He also said he hoped to return to the firm at some point.
Co-founder Marc Rowan will formally take over as CEO after being appointed to the role in January.
Apollo had appointed Clayton, who was chairman of the US SEC from May 2017 to December 2020, as lead independent director in February to improve corporate governance in the wake of the review.