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Apollo Global to Overhaul Board After Leon Black Controversy

Apollo Global reportedly plans to appoint a lead independent director who will engage directly with management and the board.
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Apollo Global Management  (APO)  reportedly will overhaul its board in light of Co-Founder Leon Black’s connection to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Shares of the New York investment manager at last check were up 2.1% to $49.91.

The company will appoint a lead independent director who will engage directly with management and the board, Co-Founder Marc Rowan said on a Wednesday earnings conference call, according to Bloomberg.

Apollo is also moving toward a two-thirds independent board and is looking to add diversity to bring in different views.

“Proper governance and transparency are going to be essential to play the role that we are supposed to play in this marketplace,” said Rowan, who will take over as Apollo’s chief executive by July when Black steps down.

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The New York Times reported in October that Black, 69, had wired at least $50 million to Epstein after the financier's 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl. He wasn’t accused of a crime.

In addition, Black paid Epstein $158 million in fees for trust- and estate-tax planning in the five years to 2017, far more than was previously known, according to a report from law firm Dechert.

The controversy led Apollo to hire an outside law firm to examine the matter. A review found that Apollo Global never used Epstein for any services and found no evidence Black was involved with his criminal activities. 

The episode ultimately prompted Black to say that he would cede his role as CEO.

Rowan said on Wednesday that investor feedback to the review has been positive.

Epstein committed suicide in prison in August 2019 while awaiting child sex charges.