Leon Black: A Life Defined by Philanthropy

Leon Black 1

Leon Black Biography


Leon Black is a renowned American businessman and art collector. He is the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm that manages assets worth more than $455 billion. He is known for his excellent investment skills, which have catapulted him to become one of the richest individuals in the world. Black is also a renowned philanthropist and has donated millions to various charitable causes.

Early Life and Education:

Leon Black was born on July 31, 1951 in New York City. His father, Eli Black, was a prominent businessman who owned the United Brands Company. Eli Black committed suicide in 1975, and Leon was forced to take over the family business along with his brother.

Leon Black graduated from the prestigious Harvard University, where he studied Philosophy and History. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.

Career and Achievements:

Leon Black started his career as an investment banker with Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1977. He rose through the ranks and became a partner in the company. In 1990, Black and six other former Drexel executives founded Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm that specializes in leveraged buyouts, distressed debt, and corporate restructuring.

Under Black’s leadership, Apollo has emerged as one of the most successful private equity firms in the world. The company has invested in various high-profile companies, including Harrah’s Entertainment, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Caesars Entertainment. In 2019, Black was listed as the 129th richest person in the world by Forbes magazine with a net worth of $6.9 billion.

Black is also an avid art collector and has an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. He serves as the chairman of the board of the Museum of Modern Art and is also a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Personal Life:

Leon Black is married to Debra Ressler, and the couple has four children together. They reside in New York City in a penthouse apartment that is reportedly worth $50 million.

Black is known for his philanthropic activities and has donated millions to various charitable causes. In 2011, he donated $48 million to alma mater Dartmouth College, and in 2018, he donated $10 million to the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale.


Name: Leon Black
Born: July 31, 1951
Country: United States
Sector: Private equity
Companies: Apollo Global Management
Net Worth: $6.9 billion
Forbes URL:

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