So They Say: Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray Talks Crisis Opportunity and Global Expansion


Jonathan Gray
Blackstone Group’s global head of real estate, Jonathan Gray.

Speculation has continued to build that Blackstone (BX) Group’s 43-year-old global head of real estate, Jonathan Gray, may well take over for the private equity firm’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman or President and Chief Operating Officer Hamilton “Tony” James should either retire in the near future. Mortgage Observer looks back on some rare quotes the media-shy billionaire has provided to the media—most of them in mid-2013.

“We think you want to invest in places when people are more negative about those places. That’s the case in Europe and I think increasingly in emerging markets.

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“But you have to buy things anticipating very slow growth.”

—July 2013 interview with CNBC

“On a global basis, as we get bigger, one of my priorities is to make sure that we maintain the same standards and that we continue to have open communication and integration. Whether you’re in our New York office or Mumbai office, it’s a must that we focus on our people and our standards and that we continue to do things the same way across the business.”

—September 2013 interview with Commercial Observer

“There’s always going to be room for super talented entrepreneurs and family businesses that have real estate experience, but I do think real estate is becoming a more global business where larger institutions will play an increasing role.

“When I agreed to go on the board two years ago, then I became subject to a higher degree of disclosure and public scrutiny. All other things being equal, I would prefer my financial success to stay private, but unfortunately that’s not the way it is.”

—September 2013 interview with Property Week

“The downturn created an opportunity to create a business, and in doing so we actually could do something for tenants that never existed before. … Wouldn’t somebody pay for that experience?”

—September 2013 interview with The Atlantic

“Maybe I’m missing a gene. Being a believer, for better or worse, can be helpful.”

—January 2014 interview with The Wall Street Journal