Apollo's Azelby Is Said to Depart One Year After Joining Firm

(Bloomberg) -- Joe Azelby, the former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive who joined Apollo Global Management LLC last year as head of its real assets division, is leaving the investment firm, according to people familiar with the matter.

Azelby and other managers differed over the firm’s approach to attracting investors to its planned infrastructure funds and assembling a team for the effort, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel matters.

Apollo Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Leon Black said in December that the firm was in the process of building a team around Azelby, and that he would go raise funds as that team started to form. Still, he explained that the strategy takes time and has its own nuances.

“It’s a big, big, big industry and there are a lot of us who think of it as roads and bridges, but it’s also airports,” Black told investors at a conference. “Typical infrastructure deal on roads and bridges take 10, 12 years. That’s why you haven’t had that much private capital come into them."

Charles Zehren, an Apollo spokesman, and Azelby declined to comment.

Azelby left JPMorgan in early 2017 after a 30-year run. At the New York-based bank, he led a unit that oversaw $90 billion in real estate, infrastructure and maritime assets across the world. He was previously a linebacker with the Buffalo Bills football team.

Apollo had more than $247 billion of assets under management at the end of March, of which $13 billion was in so-called real assets. Private equity firms including Blackstone Group LP have been seeking to boost infrastructure wagers amid hopes that international funds would flow into the U.S. on the back of President Donald Trump encouraging investment in the sector.

Josh Harris, an Apollo co-founder, has said that finding enough capital for real assets wasn’t the problem. The issue was finding ways to generate excess returns, he said on a conference call with analysts in August.

“We’re working painstakingly to develop an edge that allows us to do things that are different,” he said in a November call. The credit and real assets business “is growing a lot and we’re investing in it.”

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