Jay Clayton, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, will serve as the lead independent director of Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm said on Thursday.
The move is intended to improve the Wall Street firm’s governance in the wake of the revelation that Leon Black, one of the firm’s co-founders, had paid $158 million in fees to the registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The appointment of Mr. Clayton is part of a series of steps Apollo announced last month to expand its board and promote greater independence. Mr. Clayton’s post as lead director may help alleviate concerns about Mr. Black’s decision to remain as chairman even after he steps down as chief executive by this summer.
A report commissioned by Apollo’s board that reviewed Mr. Black’s professional dealings with Mr. Epstein found that Mr. Black did nothing wrong and was unaware of the predatory conduct with teenage girls that led to Mr. Epstein’s arrest in 2019 on federal sex trafficking charges. But the review found that Mr. Black paid twice as much in fees for tax and estate planning services to Mr. Epstein than previously believed.
“I look forward to working with my fellow board members to advance Apollo’s strategy in our ever-evolving markets,” Mr. Clayton said in a statement. He will step into the newly created role on March 1.
Mr. Clayton, who had served as S.E.C. chairman for nearly all four years of the Trump administration, will also be returning to his former law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, but in the role of special policy adviser and counsel. At the S.E.C., his main mandates were to make it easier for companies to tap the public markets and protect retail investors from market manipulation.
Mr. Clayton’s “appointment underscores our commitment to both rigorous oversight and diverse viewpoints,” Marc Rowan, who will succeed Mr. Black as chief executive, said in a statement.