New York (CNN Business)Leon Black will step down as CEO of Apollo Global Management, the investment firm said, as it also announced that an internal investigation into Black’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein found no wrongdoing.
Black will retire by the end of July and will be succeeded by Marc Rowan, a co-founder of the private equity firm, as CEO. Black will remain as the firm’s chairman, Apollo said. Black said in his continued role as chairman he looks forward to “focusing on strategic planning, growth initiatives, investment opportunities and supporting Apollo, which has been my life’s work, in whatever ways I can.”In a separate announcement, Apollo said it found no evidence of wrongdoing in Black’s past relationship with Epstein, an accused sex trafficker who hanged himself in jail in 2019. “The findings of the report are consistent with statements made by Mr. Black and Apollo regarding the prior relationship,” Apollo said in a statement. Read MoreThe probe conducted by law firm Dechert LLP, which it says involved reviewing more than 60,000 documents and interviewing more than 20 people, found that Black’s payments to Epstein totaled $158 million from 2012 to 2017. It also found that Apollo never did business with Epstein and he never invested in Apollo-managed funds. Black’s last payment to Epstein was made in April 2017; in 2018, Epstein repaid a portion of two loans that were outstanding to Black but never repaid the balance, the report said. “Black and Epstein ceased communications in or around the fall of 2018, prior to the renewed public revelations of Epstein’s conduct and Epstein’s arrest and suicide.” Black called for the independent review in October of last year, saying it was “the best way to assure all of our stakeholders that they have all of the relevant facts, and I look forward to cooperating fully,” according to an Apollo spokesperson. This all followed a report from The New York Times that revealed details about Black’s relationship with Epstein, including allegations that the two men “often socialized and dined together” and their business relationship involved payments for consulting and other services. In a letter to investors provided to CNN in October, Black expressed that he deeply regretted his involvement with Epstein. “With the benefit of hindsight — and knowing everything that has come to light about Epstein’s despicable conduct more than fifteen years ago — I deeply regret having had any involvement with him,” Black stated in the letter.Black stated that his relationship only involved professional services that included “estate planning, tax and philanthropic endeavors” as well as occasional meets at Epstein’s townhouse to conduct business, as he says, Epstein didn’t have a separate office. In a letter to investors on Monday, Black said he had pledged $200 million toward initiatives that help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking — one way he can “begin to address the grievous error” of having maintained a professional relationship with Epstein.