Billionaire financier Leon Black is stepping down from running Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm he co-founded in the 1990s in the wake of allegations over his ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Black has stepped down as CEO and also will no longer be chairman of the firm. Marc Rowan, Apollos co-founder, will become the new CEO while the former chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, has been made Apollo's non-executive chairman. Black remains the largest shareholder of Apollo. All of this has come down since Apollo announced in January they were undertaking an internal investigation into Black's reported ties to Epstein. The probe interviewed more than 20 people and produced more than 60,000 documents, found no wrongdoing despite the fact that Black paid $158 million to Epstein in the years between 2012 and 2017.
Apollo launched the internal investigation after The New York Times published a report about Black's alleged ties to Epstein, including claims that they often dined together and socialized. Black wrote a letter to shareholders in which he expressed regret for his ties to Epstein. In it, he said:
"With the benefit of hindsight — and knowing everything that has come to light about Epstein's despicable conduct more than fifteen years ago — I deeply regret having had any involvement with him."
As previously mentioned, Leon Black earned his $8 billion fortune as the co-founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which today has more than $300 billion in assets under management. Prior to stepping down, he served as Apollo's Chairman, CEO, and Director. He is an avid art collector and is the chairman of New York's Museum of Modern Art. He is also a trustee of Mt. Sinai Hospital and The Asia Society.
As far as Black's alleged ties to Epstein are concerned, he claims that their relationship involved professional services including estate planning, tax issues, and philanthropic giving, even though those meetings occasionally occurred at Epstein's townhouse where much of the late financier's alleged sex trafficking went down.
In an effort to address, in his words, "the grievous error" of having a professional relationship with Epstein, Black pledged $200 million to charities that help survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence.