Schwarzman succeeds James A. Johnson, who stepped down from the position in January. Kenneth M. Duberstein and Alma Johnson Powell, who acted as interim co-chairs, made the announcement May 20. In a statement, Powell said, "Steve's impressive qualifications in the business world, combined with his commitment to the arts and education, make him ideal for this next stage of the Center's growth." About the new position, Schwarzman said, "It is an extraordinary privilege for me to be asked to serve as Chairman of the Kennedy Center, an organization that I hold in the very highest regard. Its contribution to the performing arts and to American culture as a whole is invaluable. I look forward to working with Center President Michael Kaiser and his team to continue enhancing the Center’s profile and its contribution to the performing arts on both the national and international stages."
Schwarzman, who assumes the position immediately, is the fifth Chairman in the Center's history. His predecessors include the aforementioned Johnson as well as Roger L. Stevens, Ralph P. Davidson and James D. Wolfensohn.
Stephen A. Schwarzman co-founded the Blackstone Group in 1985. Before that, he worked for Lehman Brothers where he was elected Managing Director in 1978. He is on the board of directors of the New York City Ballet, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Public Library and New York City Partnership. He also serves on the board of the Harvard Business School Visiting Committee, was an Adjunct Professor at Yale School of Management and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is married to attorney Christine Hearst Schwarzman.
For more information about the Kennedy Center, visit www.kennedy center.org.