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People moves: Blackstone, Pomona, Landmark promotions

Hires and promotions at fund managers, service providers and lawyers.


Jon Gray has been promoted to president and chief operating officer at alternative investment giant Blackstone. Gray replaces Tony James who will become executive vice-chairman. Gray, who joined the firm from college and has led the real estate business since 2005, will report to chief executive and co-founder Steve Schwarzman. Gray was elected to the firm’s board of directors in 2012 and sits on Blackstone’s management committee. In November 2016 he turned down the opportunity to become US Treasury Secretary.

Pomona Capital has promoted chief financial officer John Stephens to partner. Stephens joined the secondaries firm in 2011 and led its Hong Kong office before becoming CFO in 2015. He is now based in Pomona’s New York headquarters and will continue to lead the finance and accounting team. Stephens was previously managing partner and co-founder of emerging markets focused fund of funds EMAlternatives.

Tom Armstrong and Deivis Valenta have been promoted to vice-president in the operations group at Connecticut-based secondaries firm Landmark Partners. Armstrong oversees the accounting and reporting for select investment funds. Prior to joining Landmark in 2008 Armstrong was with Tudor Investment Corporation, JPMorgan and a controller at Morgan Stanley. Valenta is vice-president of IT infrastructure at Landmark. He is engaged in architecture, implementation and support of the IT Systems.

Service providers

Hannah Correll Jaeger has been appointed as head of client relationship management – Americas, at alternatives administration services provider SANNE. Jaeger is based in SANNE’s New York office and is responsible for building and maintaining all client and intermediary relationship while overseeing business development, marketing, and sales. Jaeger joins SANNE from Vistra Group.

Fund and corporate services provider the Aztec Group has promoted Michael Wood and Erique Mvalo to director within the private equity team. Wood joined Jersey-based Aztec Group as a client relationship manager in 2006. He is responsible for the oversight of dedicated client teams, specialising in buyout and venture capital funds. Mvalo joined Aztec in 2015 and works predominantly on fund of funds and secondaries structures.

Law firms

Ken Joseph has joined Duff & Phelps from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Joseph was the former head of the SEC’s New York regional office investment management examination program. He will be based in the New York office and will focus on threats arising from investigations, compliance examinations, litigation and crisis scenarios. Joseph spent more than 21 years at the SEC in the division of enforcement. He served as one of the inaugural assistant directors of the SEC’s asset management unit which was set up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Michal Berkner has been appointed an M&A partner at law firm Cooley. She represents large corporations, private equity houses, investment banks and high-net-worth individuals in a range of of transactions. Berkner, who will be based in the firm’s London office, joins from Skadden where she spent more than twenty years.

Offshore law firm Mourant Ozannes has appointed three new partners to its global partnership. Stephen Alexander and Carla Benest have been appointed from the Jersey office and Chinyin Johnston from the London office.