Leon Black may have tried to increase his hold on the board of Apollo Global Management from an astonishing January 25 onward. 25 announcement that he was stepping down as CEO amid controversy over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, The Post has learned.
In a series of moves, which are now only being questioned by a few people within the company, according to sources close to the situation, Black On January 22 introduced plans to increase Apollo’s board size from seven to 13, including four new directors. Whose appointments were to take effect from March 1.
In addition to Apollo co-chairs Scott Kleinman and Jim Zelter, the company also added independent directors Siddharth Mukherjee and Pam Joyner to the board.
Mukherjee, a world-renowned physician and scientist, has made connections to Black through his artist wife Sarah Sez, according to sources and public documents reviewed by The Post. Likewise, Joyner’s black history is nearly two decades old, including fellow trustees of his alma mater, Dartmouth College.
Apollo states that the board stands by directors, who “have impeccable credibility and provide significant value to the board of Apollo.”
Apollo said, “It is very disappointing that the integrity and independence of such highly accomplished individuals are being questioned by anonymous, baseless accusations.”
It added, “None of the board members expressed any concern about the qualifications or commitment of the independent directors.”
But sources say that Mukherjee and Joyner were nominated and approved for a three-day period without any interviews and that their relationship with Black was not made clear to the board. Apollo declined to comment, but a source close to the company said the candidates were made available for interviews.
Sources said the board extension was submitted to the board on 22 January. Apollo’s constant improvement in corporate governance and its soon-to-be-released report was presented as a pillow, showing Black having closer ties to Epstein than he had previously felt, sources said. he said. .
Black agreed to step down as CEO by the end of July while being chairman of the board. Apollo co-founder Mark Rowan will replace him as CEO.
When the plan was announced on January 25, the board’s reshuffle report was accompanied by the simultaneous release of Apollo commissioned from Dichert, a law firm investigating Black’s relationship with Epstein.
The report found no evidence of wrongdoing by Black, but showed that he owed Epstein 158 for personal tax, accounting and estate planning after he was convicted for Epstein’s 2008 sex offense. Million dollars was paid.
In Mukherjee’s case, Black and his wife Debra were among 14 “generous” donors to his wife’s 2018 stainless steel sculpture “Fallen Sky”, according to a press release, permanent at the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY. Were kept in the form. .
Black purchased art publisher Fidone Press in 2012, which in 2016 published the first substantial study of Sze’s work, according to Fejden’s Web site.
Black was also the president of the Modern Art of the Museum when he hosted “Surrounds: 11 Eels” featuring Suez art. And when MoMA celebrated Black as co-chairman in their Sculpture Gardens in 2015, Sze was reportedly among the guests.
Joyner was head of the investment committee of Dartmouth College from 2004 to 2009. Black, a fellow Dartmouth alum, served on the same committee for an overlapping period when he was a member of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2011.
Reportedly, when Joyner was the head of the committee, Dartmouth invested $ 40 million in the Apollo Fund.
In 2003 Joyner formed AVD Partners, which markets private equity funds. According to the Carolina Journal, Apollo hired AVL in 2005 from North Carolina’s pension, and AVL helped Apollo raise $ 150 million from North Carolina’s pension.
Governance experts say that Mukherjee and Joyner’s relationship with Blacks questions their independence.
“Why are these two with all the people you can meet in Apollo?” Soundboard Governance founder Doug Chia told The Post. “I think there are some clear and direct connections here that could affect any decision made about Leon Black.”
Sources said that even if fellow Black’s directors objected to the nominations, he was still powerless to do anything.
In Apollo, only Class C stockholders have the right to nominate and elect directors. Sources said that only three people have Class C shares – Apollo co-founders Black, Rowan and Josh Harris, all of whom were approved by the new directors.
Harris, who allegedly pushed Black to step down that weekend, said he “voted in support of the directors for the general governance process.”
This is the latest indication that Black was reluctant to relinquish control of the financial behemoth issued since its founding in 1990. In fact, when Black board resigned as chairman and CEO on March 21 – after which various members of the board unearthed allegations of sexual harassment. One woman said she was extorting him in a “consensual affair” – she told the board in a letter that she “expected to return at some point”, according to filming.
Kale, who declined to comment for this story, denied the woman’s allegations. He also denied that his claims contributed to his departure, stating that he stepped in for health reasons.