Venice Brands Acquisition Corp. I
- Consumer, Food, Beverage, Healthcare, Wellness, Beauty, Pet Care
Gregory Willsey has been our Chief Executive Officer since March 2021 and will serve as a director following the completion of this offering. Mr. Willsey is the founder and owner of Venice Brands, which he created in 2016 and where he has since served as the Chief Executive Officer. Over that period, he has launched several new brands from inception, made numerous growth capital investments, and acquired larger cash-flow-positive businesses within the consumer sectors. Prior to forming Venice Brands, and in parallel to running Venice Brands through 2018, Mr. Willsey served as one of three partners at Monogram Capital Partners from 2015 to 2018, where he was a member of the investment committee and helped launch the firm into the consumer packaged goods space. During his tenure there, the firm increased its assets under management to over $250 million, built a strong reputation in the broader consumer and retail sectors, completed 12 investments, and raised its first committed fund. Before joining Monogram, Mr. Willsey was the Chief Financial Officer and eventual Chief Operating Officer at POM Wonderful where his responsibilities included setting the company’s strategy and budgets, establishing all pricing and trade, managing a large sales team, creating management KPIs, financial reports and incentive plans, and leading a multiyear, cross-functional initiative to transform POM’s profitability. Prior to POM, Mr. Willsey worked at the parent company, The Wonderful Company, where as the Director of Strategy and M&A he led the screening and diligence of all potential acquisitions as well as select portfolio company initiatives. Before that, Mr. Willsey was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on growing and improving well-known consumer brands. Mr. Willsey earned a B.S. from the Calloway School of Business at Wake Forest University (summa cum laude), a J.D. from Harvard Law School (with distinction), and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School (with distinction).
Mr. Willsey brings to his service on our board of directors a comprehensive understanding of our business philosophy, rooted in his leadership role as Venice Brands’ founder and Chief Executive Officer and his extensive experience in the consumer sectors. We believe his knowledge and experience in leadership of Venice Brands, and his background in creating new brands from inception, making growth capital investments, and leading larger M&A transactions in the consumer space, will make him an invaluable leader in our identification of business combination opportunities.
Doug Power will serve as our Chairman and a director following the completion of this offering. Mr. Power has served as the Vice President and Global Head of M&A and Corporate Strategy at General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) since 2018, where he has led global M&A execution, portfolio shaping, corporate strategy, and shareholder activist defense. Mr. Power has over 20 years of experience in acquisitions, investments, divestitures, integration, and strategy with deep expertise in consumer packaged goods and food-related businesses and services. Mr. Power joined General Mills in 2011 and has led the expansion of the company’s natural and organic portfolio with the acquisitions of Annie’s Homegrown, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking Company, and Epic Provisions, and investments in Beyond Meat and Mediterranean Snack Foods. He also drove the company’s globalization strategy by leading the international acquisitions of Yoki Alimentos, Carolina, and Parampara. Prior to 2018, Mr. Power served as the Vice President and Global Head of M&A of General Mills, Inc. In 2018, Mr. Power originated, activated, and executed the transformational $8 billion acquisition of Blue Buffalo Pet Products. His portfolio shaping initiatives have included investments in companies with new capabilities, such as Instacart, as well as multiple divestitures of non-core businesses. Mr. Power also led the development of the company’s new Accelerate enterprise strategy. Prior to joining General Mills in 2011, Mr. Power was the Vice President of M&A at NAVTEQ Corporation, a leading provider of digital map data, where he executed acquisitions and investments which enabled the company’s entry into location-based services, 3D mapping, mobile advertising, application software development and crowd-sourced data. He also played a key role in the company’s $8.1 billion sale to Nokia. Prior to NAVTEQ, Mr. Power was the Global Co-Head of M&A at Lucent Technologies where he led the execution of more than $13 billion of transactions. Mr. Power was previously an investment banker in the M&A group at Merrill Lynch & Co where he executed nearly $10 billion of buy-side and sell-side transactions on behalf of clients across multiple industries and geographies. Mr. Power earned an MBA with Honors from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA with Distinction from The University of Michigan. He currently serves on the boards of Rahr Corporation and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
We believe Mr. Power’s significant expertise in consumer packaged goods and food-related businesses and services, and his demonstrated business acumen, will make him a valuable member of our board of directors.
Pam Netzky has served as our President since March 2021 and will serve as a director following the completion of this offering. Ms. Netzky is the co-founder and former President of SkinnyPop Popcorn, one of the fastest growing “better-for-you” brands in the history of consumer snack foods. Ms. Netzky co-founded Skinny Pop in 2010 and served as its President until 2014. SkinnyPop Popcorn grew from a local business in the Chicago metropolitan area to a national brand that can be found on the shelves of nearly every major retail chain across North America. In 2014 SkinnyPop sold a majority stake to TA Associates, a leading private equity firm, and changed its name to Amplify Snack Brands. Ms. Netzky transitioned to Senior Advisor in 2014 and was named a board member of the company. In 2015, Amplify Snack Brands went public on the New York Stock Exchange (formerly NYSE: BETR). Ms. Netzky continued to serve on the board of directors until its sale to The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) in 2018 in a transaction valued at approximately $1.6 billion. Since 2020, Ms. Netzky has served as a board member and Strategic Advisor to Coco5, a functional beverage brand. She also serves on the boards of The Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Chicago’s Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship at 1871. Ms. Netzky has shown dedicated support to the City of Chicago as well as the arts, education and health care. She has also been recognized for her philanthropic pursuits by The Illinois Holocaust Museum. Ms. Netzky earned a BA from DePaul University.
We believe Ms. Netzky’s background in founding and growing prominent consumer packaged foods brands make her a valuable asset to our board of directors, and believe that her prior roles in management and directorships will provide insight and guidance to our board of directors.
Eric Grib has been our Chief Financial Officer since March 2021. Mr. Grib has over 15 years of experience in private equity, corporate M&A, and investment banking. From 2019 to 2021, Mr. Grib served as a Principal of Acamar Partners, a consumer-focused special purpose acquisition company that raised approximately $305.0 million in its initial public offering in February 2019 and completed its initial business combination in January 2021 when it acquired CarLotz, Inc. (NASDAQ: LOTZ), a leading consignment-to-retail used vehicle marketplace. During his tenure at Acamar Partners, Mr. Grib evaluated over 200 opportunities across a wide variety of consumer and retail verticals (including, but not limited to, consumer branded products, health and wellness, food and beverage, beauty and personal care, luxury goods, specialty retail, fashion and apparel, and restaurants). In addition, Mr. Grib has served as a Venture Partner at Indigo Capital, a growth equity and venture capital firm focused on the consumer and technology sectors, since 2017. From 2015 to 2017, Mr. Grib served as a Vice President at Safanad. Mr. Grib was previously Senior Director of Mergers and Acquisitions at IAC (NASDAQ: IAC), a leading technology and media holding company. Mr. Grib started in his career in the investment banking divisions of Credit Suisse and Bear Stearns. Mr. Grib earned an M.B.A. from Stanford University and a BSc degree from the London School of Economics.
Kris Meulen will serve as a director following the completion of this offering. Mr. Meulen has served as the Chief Development Officer of The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) since 2020 and has global responsibility for mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and venture investments. Prior to serving as Chief Development Officer of The Hershey Company, Mr. Meulen served as Vice President of M&A and Disruptive Growth from 2017 to 2020. Mr. Meulen has over 20 years of acquisition, investment and capital raising experience, with a focus in consumer goods and related technology and services sectors. He has executed over $30 billion of transactional volume and led approximately 80 acquisition, investment and divestiture transactions, including $15 billion of new equity issuance across multiple sectors. At The Hershey Company he led the development of the company’s non-confection snacking portfolio which includes the SkinnyPop, Pirate’s Booty and ONE Bar Brands, led the divestitures of non-core brands in North America, Asia and Europe, and was the divisional CFO of Amplify Snack Brands during its integration. Prior to The Hershey Company, he was the Global Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions at AB-InBev where he led acquisitions, partnerships and venture investments across the globe, with a focus on evolving the company’s portfolio, e-commerce and technology capabilities. Mr. Meulen was previously an investment banker at Morgan Stanley and UBS, and prior to that was a founding member of DriveLogic, a tech start-up, and held various business development, P&L and product management roles at CCC Information Services. Mr. Meulen earned a BS from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
We believe Mr. Meulen’s extensive mergers and acquisition experience, and his leadership roles in the consumer packaged foods industry, brings important insight and guidance to our board of directors in identifying and pursuing business combination opportunities.
Matt Fuller will serve as a director following the completion of this offering. Mr. Fuller has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Venice Brands’ portfolio company Osso Good, a leading provider of bone broth, soup and related products, since July 2020. Over the past three decades, Mr. Fuller has consistently delivered exceptional business results by designing, building, and leading teams to capitalize on market opportunities. The foundation of Mr. Fuller’s business philosophy is based on identifying and utilizing shared team values to create organizational purpose, wise allocation of resources and effective, consistent communication. After joining Osso Good in July 2020, Mr. Fuller led a strategic transaction with Briteway Foods in December 2020. Previously, Mr. Fuller brought his experience to his role as President of ProBar and BARE Snacks, now owned by PepsiCo, where he spearheaded overall strategy, expansion and growth. Mr. Fuller served as President of ProBar from 2018 to 2020 and BARE Snacks from 2011 to 2015. Prior to joining BARE, Mr. Fuller served as President of Pan Pacific Foods from 2003 to 2011, where he was responsible for managing the daily operations and overall performance of a portfolio of food-related companies. Mr. Fuller earned his B.B.A. from the University of Iowa. Mr. Fuller also holds a Master’s degree in leadership studies from Saint Mary’s College.
We believe Mr. Fuller brings significant experience in business and corporate strategy to our board of directors, and we believe his strong background in strategic transactions in the branded foods industry will make him a valuable member of our board of directors.
Anthony Chukumba will serve as a director following the completion of this offering. Mr. Chukumba has served as a Managing Director and Senior Research analyst for Loop Capital Markets, one of the nation’s largest minority owned investment banks, since 2016. Mr. Chukumba has been instrumental in developing Loop Capital’s equity research effort and has covered specialty hardlines retail stocks for over fifteen years. Prior to his current position, Mr. Chukumba was a Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst for BB&T Capital Markets, and a Senior Research Analyst for FTN Equity Capital Markets. Mr. Chukumba was also previously a Stock Analyst for Morningstar, Inc. and a Business Finance Manager for Sears, Roebuck and Company in Apparel and Accessories. Earlier in his career, Mr. Chukumba was a Vice President in Corporate Finance and an Analyst in Mergers & Acquisitions for Merrill Lynch & Co. Mr. Chukumba earned an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Accounting with highest honors from Rutgers University.
We believe Mr. Chukumba brings a broad business and financial background to our board of directors, and will provide our board of directors with important expertise regarding finance and capital markets.