Advent International has appointed William R. Johnson as an operating partner. Johnson was former chairman, chief executive officer and president of H.J. Heinz Company Limited.
Advent International, one of the largest and most experienced global investors dedicated solely to private equity, today announced that William R. Johnson, former chairman, chief executive officer and president of H.J. Heinz Company Limited (“Heinz”), has been engaged by Advent as an Operating Partner. Mr. Johnson will work closely with Advent’s global retail and consumer team to identify and evaluate investment opportunities in the consumer industry with a particular focus on consumer packaged goods and food.
Mr. Johnson had a highly distinguished 31-year career at Heinz and was CEO for over 15 years. Under his leadership, Heinz grew top- and bottom-line results across multiple segments to transform the company into a global food industry leader. In addition to his role as CEO and president, Mr. Johnson held a number of leadership positions throughout the organization, including chief operating officer and senior vice president and served on the Heinz Board of Directors for 20 years. He began his career at Heinz in 1982 as general manager of new businesses for Heinz U.S.A.
“Bill is one of the premier executives in the consumer packaged goods industry, and we are excited that he has agreed to support the Advent team,” said Jeff Case, a managing director at Advent. “Bill’s expertise in consumer products and food will complement our extensive experience in the retail space and further strengthen our ability to source new investments and drive value creation in our portfolio.”
“Advent has demonstrated continued success investing in the global retail and consumer space,” said Mr. Johnson. “I am excited to apply the experience I have gained over my career to that process and I am looking forward to working with Advent.”
Mr. Johnson currently serves on the boards of Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR), and UPS (NYSE: UPS). He previously served on the boards of The PNC Financial Services Group, The Clorox Company, Georgia-Pacific LLC, the Amerada Hess Corporation and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Mr. Johnson earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA and an MBA from the University of Texas.
Mr. Johnson is the most recent executive to be added to Advent’s Operating Partner Program, a long-established and successful element of the firm’s highly operational approach to investing. The program includes over 60 senior industry executives who work in specific sectors as independent consultants to Advent and its portfolio companies. These executives, many of whom have been involved in multiple Advent investments, assist in finding attractive investment opportunities, conducting due diligence and creating and driving value creation plans for Advent’s portfolio companies.
Advent has been investing in the retail, consumer and leisure industry for 25 years and has completed over 50 investments in the sector worldwide. Global investments over the past five years include Dudalina, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Douglas Holding, EKO Holding, Serta Simmons, Party City, Bojangles’, Partner in Pet Food (PPF), Five Below, DFS Furniture, Devin and Charlotte Russe.
About Advent International
Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the largest and most experienced global investors dedicated solely to private equity. Since inception, the firm has invested in more than 290 buyout transactions in 39 countries and today has $32 billion in assets under management. With offices on four continents, Advent has established a globally integrated team of over 170 investment professionals across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on growth and traditional buyout and strategic repositioning transactions across five core sectors, including business and financial services; healthcare; industrial; retail, consumer and leisure; and technology, media and telecoms. After 30 years dedicated to international investing, Advent remains committed to partnering with management teams to deliver sustained revenue and earnings growth for its portfolio companies.