Hamilton Evans “Tony” James (born February 3, 1951) is an American billionaire businessman, and the executive vice chairman of The Blackstone Group, a New York-based global asset management firm, having previously been president and chief operating officer. James has been chairman of Costco since August 2017.
In 1975, James joined investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and became head of its global M&A group in 1982. He founded DLJ Merchant Banking, Inc in 1985. In 1995, James was appointed chairman of the firm’s banking group, a position he held when DLJ was acquired in 2000 by Credit Suisse First Boston, and was a member of its board of directors. At CSFB, James served on the executive board and as chairman of global investment banking and private equity. A 2007 Wall Street Journal article credited James with leading the acquisition process, on behalf of DLJ.
In 2002, James joined global alternative asset manager The Blackstone Group, where he was president and chief operating officer. He is on the firm’s executive and management committees, and its board of directors. He has been credited with reorganizing Blackstone’s management and creating its executive committee.
James was directly implicated in a 2007 corporate collusion conspiracy among fellow private equity giants Bain Capital and Carlyle Group. Alongside Blackstone, these firms rigged bids in 19 leveraged buyouts and eight other transactions. James wrote in an email to KKR co-founder George Roberts “Together we can be unstoppable but in opposition we can cost each other a lot of money.” James also sent a note to his Blackstone colleagues about the co-founder of another private equity group, KKR: “Henry Kravis just called to say congratulations and that they were standing down because he had told me before they would not jump a signed deal of ours.” Though the PE firms tried to dismiss the case, a federal judge denied their motion. Ultimately, the case was settled out of court in 2014. The firms paid the plaintiffs about $600 million.