Blackstone names William Burns as senior advisor

PE firm taps veteran diplomat to advise on geopolitical issues

Blackstone has named former US Deputy Security of State William Burns as a senior advisor, according to a statement from the New York private equity firm.

A 33-year career diplomat and president of think tank the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Burns will advise the firm's executives on geopolitical risk, according to Blackstone president and chief operating officer Tony James. 

“Bill has been one of the small group 'in the room' dealing with most of the critical international issues of the last 20 years. His innate understanding of geopolitical risk will serve us well as we seek new investment opportunities and partners globally,” James said.

Burn's more recent postings include as Under secretary for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011 and U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008. He also served as special assistant to former secretaries of state Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright; and minister-counselor for political affairs at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

Burns said he was looking forward to working with Blackstone: “I have long been impressed by their deep understanding of and approach to global business. I feel that we can both learn from one another's experiences and knowledge.”

He joins former French diplomat Gérard Errera and retired four star General Wesley Clark on Blackstone's board of senior advisors.