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Photograph by Ben Stechschulte for Fortune; Grid Photo: Bertrand Roberts
  • Age
    39
  • Title
    Senior managing director
  • Company
    Blackstone

Peter Wallace’s first big investment pitch at Blackstone flopped. After the meeting, a colleague called Wallace’s idea–a buyout of AlliedBarton Security Services–“dopey.” Four months later, after he pitched it again—this time in a meeting with Blackstone’s bigwig Tony James—Wallace was told to drop his “science experiment.” He persisted, and it paid off. Two months later, in July 2008, Blackstone bought Allied; it’s expected to reap a billion-dollar profit for the firm. That ability to think for himself has won Wallace lots of fans at Blackstone, where he’s one of the most senior executives in its buyout business. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard, he headed to Wall Street, rather than follow his family’s well-groomed path into media (grandfather Mike was the legendary 60 Minutes correspondent; father Chris is an anchor on Fox News.) It’s also helped that his deals have been huge successes. In addition to Allied, Wallace has also led Blackstone’s buyouts of SeaWorld, The Weather Channel and Vivint Solar, which in October spun out its solar division in an IPO, creating a $1.1 billion profit for Blackstone and its investing partners. SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison says Wallace is one of the people he turned to for advice on how to deal with blowback from Blackfish, the scathing documentary that questioned the theme park’s treatment of orca whales. “He’s brilliant,” says Atchinson. “When you think all you have is a choice between A and B, Peter’s great at coming up with C.”

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