Lyndon Lea, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer , is a founder of Lion Capital and serves as its Managing Partner since its inception in 2004. Prior to founding Lion Capital, Mr. Lea was a partner of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst where he co-founded its European operations in 1998. From 1994 to 1998, Mr. Lea served at Glenisla, the former European affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., prior to which he was an investment banker at Schroders in London and Goldman Sachs in New York. Mr. Lea graduated with a BA in Honors Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario in Canada in 1990.
Mr. Lea has been active in the investment arena for 28 years, 24 of which have been exclusively focused on private equity. Mr. Lea has led the acquisitions of over 25 investments, including notable brands such as Weetabix, Jimmy Choo, Orangina, Kettle Foods, wagamama, Picard and Authentic Brands Group, amongst many others. Mr. Lea is currently Chairman of the contemporary fashion brand AllSaints where he served as Executive Chairman for the first 18 months of the investment, from May 2011 to October 2012. Under Mr. Lea’s guidance, AllSaints has seen a 53% increase in revenue. Mr. Lea is also a director of menswear brand, John Varvatos; premium skincare company, Perricone MD; accessible jewelry company, Alex & Ani; luxury sneaker brand, Buscemi; and premium apparel brand, Paige.
Mr. Lea previously led investments in, and sat on the board of, UK cereal company Weetabix; French food manufacturer Materne; restaurant chain wagamama; global, luxury shoe company, Jimmy Choo; private label razor business, Personna; soft drinks business, Orangina; snack business, Kettle Foods; Finnish bakery company, Vaasan; European frozen food brand, Findus; Dutch foodservice company, Ad Van Geloven; global hair accessories brand ghd; French frozen retailer, Picard; global brand development, marketing and entertainment company, Authentic Brands Group; UK food company, Premier Foods (LON:PFD); UK biscuit business, Burton’s Foods; UK furniture company, Christie-Tyler; leading European automotive valuation guide, EurotaxGlass’s; Polish cable company, Aster City; champagne houses G.H. Mumm and Champagne-Perrier Jouët; directories group, Yell; and clothing company, American Apparel. Mr. Lea also previously sat on the board of Aber, a diamond mining company which owned the luxury jewelry brand Harry Winston.
We believe Mr. Lea’s deep consumer industry background, coupled with broad operational and transactional experience, make him well qualified to serve as a Director.
Robert Darwent is our Chief Financial Officer and serves on our board of directors . Alongside Mr. Lea, Mr. Darwent is a founder of Lion Capital where he sits on the Investment Committee and Operating Committee of the firm. Prior to founding Lion Capital in 2004, Mr. Darwent worked with Mr. Lea in the European operations of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst since its formation in 1998. From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Darwent worked in the London office of Morgan Stanley in their investment banking and private equity groups. Mr. Darwent graduated from Cambridge University in 1995.
Mr. Darwent is currently a director of the following companies: Authentic Brands Group, the global brand licensing company; Blow Ltd, the online beauty services provider; HEMA, the European retailer; Lenny & Larry’s, the US protein-enhanced cookie brand; Loungers, the UK bar and restaurant chain; Spence Diamonds, a North American diamond jewelry retailer; and Young’s Seafood, the UK chilled and frozen food manufacturer. Previously, Mr. Darwent has sat on the board of the following companies: AS Adventure, the leading European outdoor specialist retailer; Burton’s Foods, the UK biscuit business; Christie-Tyler, the UK furniture manufacturer; ghd, the global hair appliances business; Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe and accessories brand; La Senza, the UK lingerie retailer; G.H. Mumm and Champagne Perrier-Jouët, the champagne houses; wagamama, the restaurant chain; and Weetabix, the cereal company.
We believe Mr. Darwent’s deep consumer industry background, coupled with broad operational and transactional experience, make him well qualified to serve as a Director.
Robert Bensoussan serves on our board of directors and is the former Chief Executive Officer of Jimmy Choo, where he served from 2001 to 2011, and the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LK Bennett, where he served from 2008 to 2016. Since 2008, Mr. Bensoussan has been a director and the majority owner of Sirius Equity LLP, a UK company that invests in retail and brands based in the UK and Europe. In the past four years, Mr. Bensoussan has invested in UK shoe and clothing retailer LK Bennett and feelunique.com, one of Europe’s largest online beauty retailers. Mr. Bensoussan is also on the board of lululemon athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) and of Inter Parfums Inc. (NASDAQ:IPAR). Mr. Bensoussan is also a member of four private boards, including French retail conglomerate The Vivarte Group, Zen Cars, a Belgian electric car rental company, Eaglemoss, a UK part-works publisher, and he is a member of the Advisory Board of Pictet Bank Premium Brands Fund. Mr. Bensoussan has a degree in business from ESSEC Business School in France, which he received in 1980.
We believe Mr. Bensoussan’s deep consumer industry background, coupled with broad operational and transactional experience, make him well qualified to serve as a Director.
Lori Bush serves on our board of directors and is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Rodan + Fields, a US manufacturer and Social Commerce company specializing in skincare products, where she served from October 2007 until her retirement in January 2016. During her tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Bush helped grow the company from a start-up to one of the largest premium skincare brands in the United States with almost $1 billion annual sales. With more than 25 years’ experience in the consumer and health care products industries, Ms. Bush was responsible for overseeing the brand’s entrance into the direct selling arena. A seasoned direct selling leader, Ms. Bush previously served from February 2000 to March 2006 as President of the personal care segment of Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:NUS), a $1 billion global direct selling company operating in more than 40 markets around the world. During her tenure with the company, Ms. Bush acted as a global spokesperson for the brand while leading the marketing, operations and research and development functions. Ms. Bush has also held several leadership positions, from 1993 to 2000, within the skincare franchise of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Companies, including Worldwide Executive Director Skin Care Ventures and Vice President of Professional Marketing at Neutrogena. Ms. Bush is also a current director of Viveve Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVE), where she has served since 2016. Ms. Bush has a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology, which she received from Ohio State University in 1978 and an MBA from Temple University which she received in 1985.
We believe Ms. Bush’s deep consumer industry background, coupled with broad operational and transactional experience, make her well qualified to serve as a Director.