Starwood Capital Group Hires Blackstone’s Jonathan Pollack as President

The industry veteran joined Blackstone in 2015

reprints


Starwood Capital Group has a new president, Commercial Observer has learned. 

Jonathan Pollack, global head of Blackstone Real Estate Credit and head of the firm’s structured finance group, has left his position at Blackstone for the lofty role. 

SEE ALSO: Tower Capital Grows New Capital Markets Team With 3 New Hires

And one thing is for certain, Starwood Chairman Barry Sternlicht just hooked a big fish. 

Pollack joined Blackstone in 2015 and was responsible for originating loans and investing in real estate securities on behalf of funds, real estate investment trusts and insurance capital. Previously, Pollack was global head of commercial real estate at Deutsche Bank, where he spent 16 years working in both London and New York City. 

There have been some recent changes at Blackstone that made Pollack’s big move expected and a natural one, sources familiar with the change said. 

Blackstone recently announced it would be combining its corporate credit, asset-based finance (ABF) and insurance groups under one umbrella, Blackstone Credit and Insurance (BXCI), pulling ABF from Pollack’s purview. 

Additionally, Pollack’s extensive expertise in commercial real estate debt meant he was not in line to run Blackstone’s corporate credit or overall real estate business, sources said. For those two businesses, Blackstone recently promoted Gilles Dellaert to global head of BXCI and Nadeem Meghji to global co-head of real estate alongside Kathleen McCarthy

A regular honoree on Commercial Observer’s Power Finance list, Pollack and his Blackstone team have made the top 10 in the rankings for the past several years, for good reason. In the year ending on March 15, 2023 — amid the choppiest of market conditions — the Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (BREDs) team racked up $6 billion in U.S. originations, lending across multifamily, logistics and hospitality markets and buying up performing debt securities. 

While Pollack has now left the building, it’s otherwise business as usual for Blackstone’s debt platform, with the same leadership team running it day to day. 

We are delighted for Jonathan Pollack and wish him much success in his new role at Starwood Capital,” a spokesperson for Blackstone said, adding that Blackstone will not be replacing Pollack’s role. “Tim Johnson has been global head of Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies since 2021 and will continue in this role. Tim is an immensely talented investor and leader who has been running our Real Estate Debt Business (BREDS) for a decade as both global head of BREDS and as head of BREDS originations prior to that. He’s supported by a strong and long-serving senior team averaging 10 years of tenure at Blackstone, including Katie Keenan, global COO of BREDS, and Mike Wiebolt, global head of real estate securities.” 

In a statement released by Starwood late Monday, Sternlicht said: “After an extensive search, I am extremely pleased to welcome an executive of Jonathan’s caliber as President of Starwood Capital. I have known Jonathan for more than a decade, and he is universally respected across our industry with unparalleled relationships and a track record of success, which will help lead a firm of our scale and ambition.”

Sternlicht went on to emphasize that with Pollack’s global background he will join all of Starwood’s committees, including its executive, investment, disposition and operating committees — which he is expected to lead.

“He is a proven manager, and shares my vision that talent thrives in a fun and rewarding workplace,” Sternlicht said. “We will continue to strive to make Starwood the best place to work in the industry, and I could not be more excited to start this next leg of our journey with him as part of our already accomplished leadership team.”

The Starwood release stated that Jeffrey Dishner, current president and chief operating officer of Starwood, will retain the president role until Pollack takes his new seat. Then, Dishner will assume the role of vice chairman and head of strategy and business development at the firm.

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com