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Blackstone recruits ex-M&S chief

Blackstone, one of the world’s largest alternative asset managers, has appointed Marc Bolland, chief executive of UK retailer Marks & Spencer for six years, to the newly-created role of head of European portfolio operations.

Bolland, who is also a non-executive director at Coca-Cola and International Airlines Group (owner of British Airways), stepped down from his post at M&S in April this year.

Bolland will report to Dave Calhoun, Blackstone’s head of private equity portfolio operations, and work closely with Joe Baratta, global head of private equity, and Lionel Assant, head of European private equity. The role will commence in September this year.

Despite an uncertain market environment post-Brexit, Blackstone has indicated it expects to invest even more heavily in European takeovers if prices fall sharply. The firm has $23 billion (€20.1 billion) in liquid capital reserved for acquisitions.

Bolland is not the first former UK retail chief to transfer into the private equity sphere. Last year, Justin King, former chief executive of Sainsbury’s, became vice-chairman and head of portfolio at Terra Firma. Stuart Rose, Bolland’s predecessor at M&S, is also an adviser to Bridgepoint.

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