ESS Tech, Inc.
ACON S2 Acquisition Corp.
- Sustainability, Unicorns
The company was jointly founded by our management team and ACON Investments, L.L.C. (“ACON Investments”). ACON Investments is a middle-market private equity investment firm led by a cohesive team that has been investing together for over 23 years. Founded in 1996, ACON Investments is responsible for managing approximately $5.6 billion of assets with a diverse portfolio of companies spanning over 70 investments and currently employing over 39,000 people worldwide. ACON Investments manages private equity funds and special purpose partnerships that make investments in the United States, Latin America and Europe. We believe that the experience of our management team and our relationship with ACON Investments will allow us to source, identify and execute an attractive transaction for our stockholders.
Adam Kriger is Chief Executive Officer and a Director of ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. and Executive Partner in ACON Investments’ private equity group. Mr. Kriger is both a long-term senior executive with experience at world class companies in the food, hospitality and leisure/entertainment industries with a 20+ year track record of driving organic and inorganic growth as well as an entrepreneur in food service. He serves on the board of directors of Funko, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNKO), an ACON Investments portfolio company. Prior to joining ACON Investments, Mr. Kriger was Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy at The McDonald’s Corporation (2001-2015), responsible for global strategy development and execution driving the future direction of a wide range of aspects of the business. In addition to environmental sustainability leadership in areas of food, agriculture and packaging, McDonald’s has also been a leader in many critical areas of social sustainability nearly from its inception. Its very business model as a franchisor is rooted in social sustainability with local ownership driving a virtuous ecosystem of local employment, human capital development, community development and economic impact. Prior to McDonald’s, Mr. Kriger held similar roles with increasing responsibility from 1988-1999 at The Walt Disney Company and Starwood Hotels, both of which have sustainability credentials in their own areas of strength. He started his career developing his finance and transaction skills at First Boston and Brentwood Capital. He has a B.A. from Stanford and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
John Roush is Chief Financial Officer, Chairman and a Director of ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. and an executive advisor to ACON Investments. Mr. Roush has over 30 years of operating experience leading medical, life sciences and industrial technology companies ranging in size from $100 million to $1.1 billion in revenue. Mr. Roush serves on the board of two ACON Investments portfolio companies: Pine Environmental Services LLC and International Imaging Materials, Inc. Mr. Roush also serves on the board of directors of Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEIS), LeMaitre Vascular, Inc. (NASDAQ:LMAT) and Applied LifeSciences & Systems, an early stage company developing vaccination technology to enable antibiotic free poultry. Prior to his work with ACON Investments, Mr. Roush served as CEO of Novanta Inc. (NADSAQ:NOVT), a global supplier of precision photonic components and subsystems. He previously served as President of the $1.1 billion Environmental business for PerkinElmer, Inc. (NYSE:PKI), which supplies analytical technology and services in the air, water, soil and food safety verticals. Earlier in his career, Mr. Roush held various operating leadership roles with Honeywell (NYSE:HON) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) and also worked at McKinsey & Company, a U.S.-based management consulting firm. Mr. Roush received a B.S.E.E. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
We have also assembled a group of directors who will bring us public company governance, executive leadership, operations oversight, private equity investment management and capital markets experience. Our board members have extensive experience, having served as directors or officers for numerous publicly-listed and privately-owned companies. Our directors have experience with acquisitions, divestitures and corporate strategy and implementation, which we believe will significantly benefit us as we evaluate potential acquisition or merger candidates as well as following the completion of our initial business combination.
Jonathan Ginns is a Director of ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. and a Founder and Managing Partner of ACON Investments. Mr. Ginns often serves on the board of ACON Investments fund/investment vehicle portfolio companies. Among his current positions, Mr. Ginns serves on the board of Sequitur Energy Resources, LLC. Mr. Ginns has also previously served on the boards of directors of several public companies including Mariner Energy, Inc. (NYSE:ME) and Northern Tier Energy LP (NYSE:NTI), each ACON Investments fund portfolio companies, and Optimal Group, Inc (NASDAQ:OPMR). Mr. Ginns received a B.A. in History from Brandeis University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Daniel Jinich is a Director of ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. and is a Managing Partner at ACON Investments. Prior to joining ACON Investments in 2000, Mr. Jinich was a Senior Investment Professional with HM Capital Partners (f/k/a Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst), an international private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts. Prior to HM Capital Partners, Mr. Jinich worked for the Merchant Banking Group at Bankers Trust Company, a bank holding company. Mr. Jinich often serves on the board of ACON fund/investment vehicle portfolio companies. Among his current positions, Mr. Jinich serves on the boards of BioMatrix Holdings, L.L.C and Injured Workers Pharmacy LLC. He previously served on the boards of ImpreMedia, LLC, Magic Media Inc., Peter Piper, Inc. and Radiovisa, LLC, among other prior ACON Investments fund/investment vehicle portfolio companies. He is a Member of the YPO Gold U.S. Capital Chapter and Finance Committee Chair for the Bridges Public Charter School. Mr. Jinich received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Sarah Kirshbaum Levy is a Director of ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. Ms. Levy has been an operating executive in the media industry for more than 25 years. She currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Funko, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNKO) and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation. Ms. Levy spent 21 years at Viacom, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer of Viacom Media Networks. As COO, she oversaw operations and strategy for premier brands including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, and Paramount Network as well as international operations in nearly 200 countries. During her years at Viacom, she led a diverse range of departments and businesses within the company, from consumer products to TV networks to ad sales. She served as the COO of Nickelodeon for over a decade during which time she oversaw the acquisition and integration of businesses and assets including intellectual property, streaming video, digital gaming and preschool education. Earlier in her career, she worked at The Walt Disney Co. in corporate strategic planning and in Mergers & Acquisitions at Goldman Sachs & Co. Ms. Levy received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Ryan Shadrick Wilson is a Director of ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. Ms. Shadrick Wilson has an 18+ year track record shaping the future of food and social justice through innovative ideas and businesses. She currently serves on the boards of directors or board of advisors for Territory Foods, Apeel Sciences, Brightseed, ReFED, Treasure8 and Feeding America. Ms. Shadrick Wilson is also a Senior Advisor to the Milken Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank, where she chairs the Feeding Change initiative to catalyze a more nourishing, sustainable and equitable food system. In 2017, Ms. Shadrick Wilson founded Boardwalk Collective LLC, which advises CEOs, philanthropists and investors committed to creating a healthier, happier and more connected world. She previously served as the Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel of Michelle Obama’s health initiative Partnership for a Healthier America and was an architect of the fruits and veggies (FNV) campaign for the fruit and veggie movement. Ms. Shadrick Wilson began her career as an attorney at global law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP where she counseled food companies and their trade associations and was involved in pro bono matters related to civil rights, political asylum and capital punishment. Ms. Shadrick Wilson received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Janie Goddard is a Director of ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. Ms. Goddard is a global business leader who has spent her career in general management and marketing within the Medical Device and Consumer products industries. Ms. Goddard is currently the Divisional Chief Executive (“DCE”) of the Ophthalmology Subsector at Halma, PLC (LSE: HLMA). As DCE, Ms. Goddard serves as chairperson of the Halma Ophthalmic companies including MST, Medicel, Keeler and Volk where she is responsible for P&L management, strategy & portfolio management, talent and acquisitions across the portfolio. Before joining Halma, Ms. Goddard served as President of the Detection & Analysis (“D&A”) Business Unit at Novanta (NADSAQ:NOVT) where she had full P&L responsibility for a portfolio of D&A solutions for medical device OEMs. Prior to Novanta, Ms. Goddard served in leadership roles at Welch Allyn (acquired by Hill-Rom), Covidien (acquired by Medtronic) and Johnson & Johnson. In addition to environmental sustainability efforts throughout her career, Ms. Goddard has been a champion of women and minority leadership and development. Before starting her business career, she served as a math teacher with Teach for America. Ms. Goddard received a B.S. in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.B.A from Harvard Business School.
We believe our management team is well positioned to take advantage of the growing set of acquisition opportunities focused on strategic sustainability and that our contacts and relationships, ranging from owners of private and public companies, private equity funds, investment bankers, attorneys, accountants and business brokers, will allow us to generate an attractive transaction for our stockholders.