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Business Involvements - Investment & Leadership

A.T. Cross  Through a JV structure brought in a team to renew the brand and to develop a new retail concept that served as a prototype for shop-in-shop displays in major European department stores

Christopher & Banks  Advised and supported the CEO through a leadership transition and merchandising-driven turnaround

CML Group  Joined the board, and, as Executive Chairman and Interim CEO, oversaw restructuring and sale of Smith & Hawken and Nordic Track subsidiaries  

Cost Plus World Market  Joined the board and advised the CEO and leadership team through a merchandising-driven turnaround and strategic sale process

Guess  Invested to support key new team members and an operating turnaround

Gymboree  Joined the board and partnered with the chairman on a merchandising-led turnaround; helped build a new world-class management team and a growth strategy including the incubation and successful launch of two new retail concepts; and oversaw a strategic sale process

Handleman Company Invested and served as an adviser to the CEO on value, strategy, and public markets

Kirklands  Invested to support the management team through a merchandising-driven turnaround

Massif  Co-acquired the business; worked with leadership on launch of consumer market line 

Naja  Invested and advised the founder on brand direction and distribution channels

Pier 1 Imports Invested & advised the CEO on refocusing the brand

RedEnvelope  Chaired the board through a management change, built a new executive team and led a strategic review and turnaround planning

Restoration Hardware  Invested to support the founder's plan to turn around the business

Spy Optic  Co-chaired the board, partnering with the founder and helping to recruit a new CEO to lead brand and growth strategy

Three Twins Ice Cream  Invested, joined the board, coalesced additional investors and board members, advised the founder

United Retail Group (Avenue Stores)  Proposed new expert directors to support a merchandise-driven turnaround 

Vans  Invested to support refocussing including divestment of ancillary businesses and growth of the core brand

Yard O Led  Invested and led the first phase of a turnaround of heritage UK writing instrument brand

Wellco, Altama  Co-acquired the brands; partnered on development of strategies to build consumer market presence

Wildfang  Co-organized foundational investment round; served as startup adviser to the founder


Selected Boards​

CML Group Inc. (public, NYSE)  Chairman; Executive Chairman

Cost Plus World Market (public, NASDAQ) Compensation and Strategic Review committees

Gymboree (public, NASDAQ) Audit, Compensation and Strategic Review committees

Hunter Bell Designs (private)

Imperial Yard, Ltd. (private UK limited company)

Massif Inc.  (private)

Nordic Track (public company subsidiary) Chairman

RedEnvelope (public, NASDAQ)  Executive Chairman; Nominating & Governance committee

Smith & Hawken (public company subsidiary)  Chairman

Spy Optic (public, NASDAQ) Co-Chairman;  Compensation committee

Tactical Holdings Inc. (private platform, comprised of three military/tactical brands)

Three Twins Ice Cream (private)​


Nonprofit/Educational Boards

The Berkeley School

Maybeck High School

The Gregory School

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra


Example Advisory Clients

Altamont Capital Partners Senior Adviser, consumer-focused investments

Solomon Partners Senior Adviser, leadership & strategy

Bass Family Strategic Adviser, various activist investments; co-founder, The Trinity Fund

Carl Icahn  Strategic Adviser, proxy contest strategy

Chrysler Strategic/BoardAdviser, activist investment defense

Kmart  Strategic/Board Adviser, institutional investor proposals

Ben & Jerry’s Board Adviser, strategic alternatives

A.T. Cross Strategic Adviser, brand renewal and distribution

Scotts Miracle Gro Board Adviser, control & leadership

Nine West Group Strategic Adviser, acquisitions

Kodak, Adviser, governance & institutional investor relationships

Shoney's  Board Adviser, succession and governance 

Activist Investment Practice Innovations

Independent Director Slates Helped to pioneer activist campaigns to elect minority (non-controlling) director slates at large public companies, rather than seeking control, including (with Carl Icahn) the first slate of fully independent director candidates (not affiliated with the nominating investor)

Activist Settlements Working for Chrysler, developed the first settlement of a major proxy challenge (Fortune 20 company) based on consulting with and responding to the views of the company's major institutional investors

Institutional Investor Input on Strategy Working for Kmart, organized the first meeting at a major public company in which the leadership team, board, and top institutional shareholders discussed performance and value

Investor-Driven Control Strategies Working for Nine West Group, developed strategy for the first acquisition transaction (of U.S. Shoe Corp) whose success hinged on engagement with institutional investors

Activist Fund Formation Worked with the Bass family to raise The Trinity Fund, the first $1 billion fund for active investing in the American and Canadian markets

Institutional Voting Activism Advised over two dozen key public and private institutional investors on the development of their first pro-active governance programs, including CalPERS, CalSTRS, The Wisconsin Public Retirement System, the New York State Teachers' Fund, The Florida Employees' Pension Fund, Fidelity Investments, State Street Advisers, Dimensional Fund Advisers, the Vanguard Funds. Also advised intermediary organizations including Institutional Shareholder Services and the Investor Responsibility Research Center. 

Institutional Voting Research Service Co-founded early provider of voting recommendations to institutional investors, focused on high-value voting decisions including proxy challenges and takeover bids

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