(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman said the US public is not interested in older people running for president and that could throw a surprise in the 2024 elections.
“Apparently the public is not that interested in really older people,” Schwarzman said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Tuesday in Paris, citing polls that show a majority of voters didn’t want Joe Biden to run for reelection because of his age. “When you have that kind of situation, usually something else happens.”
In the 2016 race, few had expected Donald Trump would become the president as there were others who were leading in the contest prior to him, he said in the interview on the sidelines of the International Private Equity Market conference.
Schwarzman, 76, is among mega Republican donors seeking an alternative to Trump for the elections next year and hedging their bets as most candidates trail the former president in polls. The co-founder of the PE firm has donated to South Carolina Senator Tim Scott while temporarily holding off contributions to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Bloomberg News has reported.
Read more: Schwarzman Says US Needs New Generation of Political Leaders
When asked about a new generation of political leadership in the US, he said he’s always learned that “there is always people who appear, who you had no expectation” and mentioned Barack Obama’s emergence in 2008.
“All the straight line predictions of what’s gonna happen — I sort of just sit back and say I’ve seen a lot of volatility in my life,” he said.
Schwarzman, who owns some 20% of Blackstone shares, reaped roughly $1 billion in dividends alone and earned $253.1 million in compensation in 2022, most of it through incentive fees and his cut of fund profits known as carried interest.
The annual haul, up from about $1.1 billion a year earlier, underscores Schwarzman’s status as one of Wall Street’s highest earners — with a net worth of $37.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It also demonstrates how tightly his fortune is tied to the firm he co-founded almost four decades ago.
Read more: Blackstone CEO Schwarzman Reaped Record $1.27 Billion in ’22
Speaking on Europe, Schwarzman said that inflation is still high and rising interest rates are certainly suppressing growth there. “It’s a reasonable expectation for Europe over the next year to have muted performance.” France is “doing the best” in the region, having been the biggest beneficiary of Brexit, he added.
As for China, which has been hit by a real estate crisis, most people — including the Chinese — are taking a “wait and see” approach, Schwarzman said.
It’s a “matter of time before they make the appropriate adjustments and start growing again,” he said. “In the short term it’s going to be somewhat difficult.”
With assets under management having hit a little over $1 trillion in July, Blackstone has emerged as the world’s biggest PE firm. It invests in everything from apartments, offices and warehouses to biotech businesses and power transmission projects.
Read more: Blackstone’s $1 Trillion Mark Ushers In New Era of Buyout Titans
Blackstone hit another milestone this month, joining the S&P 500 Index. That makes it the first alternative asset manager to join the equity gauge following an April decision by S&P Dow Jones to drop a 2017 rule that barred corporations with multiple share classes from index membership. Blackstone has a dual share structure with unequal voting rights.
“That’s a big one actually because it forces people who don’t like you to buy your securities,” he said while speaking separately on a panel at the IPEM conference. “We worked on that for four years. I spent a lot of time on it, and I’m very happy about that one.”
--With assistance from David Morris.
(Updates with comments on Europe and China.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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