GSO’s Tripp Smith set to depart

The New York-based credit manager promoted the former head of its energy debt platform, Dwight Scott, to president in June as part of the firm’s succession plan.

Tripp Smith – GSO Capital Partners’ co-founder and the “S” in GSO – will be leaving the private credit behemoth he helped launch in 2005 alongside Bennett Goodman and Doug Ostrover that eventually became part of Blackstone.

In an internal memo obtained by Private Debt Investor, Goodman told employees that Smith would be leaving at the end of June to “pursue other opportunities”, noting Smith has been “instrumental” in establishing GSO as one of the largest credit managers in the world.

Goodman himself said he was “fully committed” to his position as chairman at the firm, which he said is “well prepared for this transition”. GSO promoted Dwight Scott, who previously managed the firm’s energy investment platform, to the role of president in June as part of the firm’s succession plan. In that position, Scott oversees the firm’s day-to-day operations.

There will be no impact on GSO’s current funds due to a key person clause, a source familiar with the situation.

Both Blackstone and Smith declined to comment.

Before founding Blackstone, Goodman, Smith and Ostrover worked together at the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and later at Credit Suisse First Boston, which acquired DL&J in 2000. While there, Smith headed up the capital markets group and Ostrover co-led the leveraged finance group. Goodman worked in the alternative capital group.

Three years after the trio launched GSO, Blackstone bought the firm in 2008 in a deal of up to $930 million, paid for with cash and Blackstone Holdings units, according to an announcement at the time. GSO is currently the largest contributor to Blackstone’s $434.1 billion assets under management, as of 31 December.

The credit arm oversees $138.1 billion through myriad strategies, including various private funds and collateralised loan obligations. The firm is retooling its direct lending business, as it is parting ways with FS Investments, to which GSO served as sub-advisor on multiple public and private business development companies.

Goodman remains the only GSO co-founder at the firm. Ostrover left in 2015 to found BDC manager Owl Rock Capital Partners with Marc Lipschultz, the former global head of energy and infrastructure at KKR, and Craig Packer, the former co-head of leveraged finance in the Americas at Goldman Sachs.