Tony James

Vice chairman, The Blackstone Group

Nationality: American.

Born: February 3, 1951, in Wyandotte, Michigan.

Education: Harvard College, BA, 1973; Harvard Business School, MBA, 1975.

Family: Son of Hamilton and Waleska; Married Amabel Boyce, 1973; children: three.

Career: Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, 1975–1982, investment banking associate to chair of banking group; 1982–1995, head, global mergers and acquisitions department; 1995–2000, chairman, banking group; Credit Suisse First Boston, 2000–2002, cochief, global investment banking; 2002, chairman, global investment banking and private equity; Blackstone Group, 2002–, vice chairman.

Address: The Blackstone Group LP, 345 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10154;

■ Hamilton E. "Tony" James spent 25 years at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette working his way up from an investment banking associate to chairman of the firm's mergers and acquisitions and private equity holdings. When Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) acquired the renowned investment group in 2000, James moved into the merged global banking and merchant banking unit. As chairman of the unit James worked among the world's finest financial gurus but departed for another premier investment house, The Blackstone Group, in 2002. Many analysts believed that as vice chairman at Blackstone, James was heir apparent to the founding partner, Stephen Schwarzman.


James proved his aptitude early, attending the prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut. After Choate, James attended Harvard College, where he studied as a John Harvard scholar and earned a bach-elor's degree in business, magna cum laude, in 1973. James then went to Harvard Business School as a Baker scholar and earned his master's of business administration degree with distinction. After graduation in 1975 James ventured to Wall Street and became an investment banking associate at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.


In the merger mania of the 1980s, James was at the top of his game. By 1982 James headed Donaldson's global mergers and acquisitions department and was busy brokering multimil-lion-dollar mergers for international conglomerates. By 1986 James, at the age of 35, was earning more than $1 million annually at Donaldson and was profiled by the Wall Street Journal as one of the financial world's three "merger whiz kids." While James in his mid-30s and a married father of three was hardly a "kid," his meteoric rise was not only noteworthy but also well earned. James worked long hours, traveled frequently, and headed a division of 30 like-minded individuals. According to the Wall Street Journal , the unit in 1985 brought in approximately $10 billion to Donaldson's mergers and acquisitions coffers.

In addition to being shrewd in mergers and acquisitions, James urged Donaldson to enter the private equity market in 1985. In James's capable hands, the new division became immensely successful. While rising young stars of the leveraged buyout era burned out or were indicted, James remained on the straight and narrow. In 1989 James and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette engineered the takeover of CNW Corporation, the railway holding company of the Chicago & North Western Transportation Company, for the New York-based Blackstone Group. During the negotiations James met and worked with several Blackstone executives, including one of its founders, Stephen A. Schwarzman. Schwarzman figured prominently in James's future.

In the 1990s James was a power broker without peer and was making millions. During his tenure, investment banking had become Donaldson's largest and most profitable division. Similar growth in Donaldson's private equity holdings allowed the firm to join the ranks of the world's most renowned fund managers. James was appointed chairman of Donaldson's banking group in 1995. By 2000 Donaldson had suffered ups and downs and found itself the target of a takeover by CSFB.

CSFB, part of the Crédit Suisse Group international empire, which was based in Zurich, Switzerland, negotiated, bought, and merged with Donaldson in November 2000. Executives were paired up and moved around to lead the conglomerate's various operations. James and Charles Ward, the president of CSFB, ran global banking as cochiefs of the new CSFB USA, as the merged Donaldson unit was called. By 2001 the chief executive of CSFB, Allen Wheat, was mired in controversy over regulatory missteps and was forced to resign. James was initially considered for the executive position but was passed over for John Mack, the former president of Morgan Stanley. In March 2002, after Ward left CFSB to head Lazard, Mack tried to lure other Morgan Stanley executives to CSFB. While Mack hoped to recruit a Morgan Stanley veteran to run global banking with James, the ploy did not work, and James was given sole control as chairman of CSFB's global investment banking and private equity business.


On November 1, 2002, James left CSFB to become vice chairman of the Blackstone Group. Answering directly to Blackstone's president, Stephen Schwarzman, James was in familiar territory, overseeing the billion-dollar investment group's mergers and acquisitions and private banking businesses. James also was charged with finding new business opportunities for Blackstone, a challenge for which Schwarzman believed James particularly capable. In an October 17, 2002, Blackstone press release announcing James's appointment, Schwarzman commented, "This is an exciting day for Blackstone. Tony has developed an outstanding record on Wall Street, where he has one of the best investment records in private equity and is one of the industry's most dynamic senior executives in investment banking."

James continued to make his mark at Blackstone in 2003 and 2004, and his experience and business acumen earned him seats on several other prestigious boards. James served as a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation, the American Ballet Theatre, Second Stage Theatre, and Trout Unlimited and as a trustee of Choate Rosemary Hall school.

See also entries on Crédit Suisse Group and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc. in International Directory of Company Histories .

sources for further information

Anders, George, et al., "Merger Whiz Kids," Wall Street Journal , June 2, 1986.

"CSFB Shakes Up Top Management," Investment Dealers' Digest , February 25, 2002.

"Hamilton Evans James," Marquis Who's Who, 2004 , available at Biography Resource Center Online, .

Kiviat, Barbara, "Trying to Loosen Things Up," Time , December 1, 2003, p. 79.

Orr, Deborah, "The New Titans," Forbes , April 4, 2004, p. 68.

Scannel, Kara, "Blackstone Group Hires Deal Maker Who Guided DLJ," Wall Street Journal , October 18, 2002.

—Nelson Rhodes

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