Berkshire Partners and Glen T. Senk, a retail and consumer executive are partnering to co-invest in high-growth retail and consumer businesses. Berkshire Partners has initially committed $350 million to future investments alongside Senk and his newly-formed firm, Front Row Partners, where he serves as chairman and CEO.
Berkshire Partners LLC, the Boston-based investment firm, and Glen T. Senk, a leading retail and consumer executive, announced today that they are partnering to co-invest in innovative, high-growth retail and consumer businesses. Berkshire Partners has initially committed $350 million to future investments alongside Mr. Senk and his newly-formed firm, Front Row Partners LLC, where he serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Prior to forming Front Row Partners, Mr. Senk served as Chief Executive Officer of David Yurman and, prior to that, as Chief Executive Officer of Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ: URBN). He also held senior executive positions at Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM), Habitat, and Bloomingdale’s. Mr. Senk serves on the board of directors of Melissa & Doug, and previously served on the boards of Bare Escentuals, cooking.com, David Yurman, Tory Burch, and Urban Outfitters.
Ross M. Jones, Managing Director of Berkshire Partners, said, “We are excited to partner with Glen, who is a world-class executive with an impressive track record of building and profitably growing innovative consumer companies across channels, including wholesale, stores, and e-commerce.”
Marni F. Payne, Senior Director at Berkshire Partners, added, “Glen is a unique talent. He is creative and analytical, with an innate understanding of what motivates consumers. This skill set will be critical as we collaborate with management teams to further grow their businesses.”
Mr. Senk said, “The consumer marketplace is rapidly evolving, with tremendous opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs with exciting new concepts and go-to-market-strategies. Our goal through this partnership is to invest in consumer and retailing businesses and help them accelerate their strategies to become industry leaders.”
“I could not have found a more complementary partner than Berkshire Partners for this new venture,” Mr. Senk continued. “They are an exceptional group of people with tremendous integrity and deep experience investing in the consumer space. Front Row Partners will benefit immensely from having access to the talent and resources that Berkshire can provide.”
Additional Background on Mr. Senk
Mr. Senk is a creative leader who has worked with several of the world’s most iconic brands. He most recently served as CEO at David Yurman, a world leader in fine jewelry and luxury timepieces. Before joining David Yurman, he was CEO of Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN). His career with the company began in April 1994 when he joined Anthropologie as president of what was then a single-store prototype. During the course of growing Anthropologie into a billion dollar-plus operation, Mr. Senk was named Executive Vice President of its parent company Urban Outfitters in May 2002, elected to the company’s board of directors in June 2004, and named CEO in May 2007.
Before joining Urban Outfitters, Mr. Senk served as Senior Vice President and general merchandise manager of Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM), where he supervised Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, Chambers, and Gardener’s Eden and most notably set the strategy and groundwork for Pottery Barn’s rapid expansion and sales growth. Prior to that, he was Chief Executive of the International Merchandise and Marketing Group for the London-based Habitat Group. Mr. Senk’s retail career commenced at Bloomingdale’s in 1981 where he quickly rose to become Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Bloomingdale’s By Mail, Ltd.
Mr. Senk holds a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from New York University and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In 2010, Mr. Senk was named one of Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 Businesspeople of the Year.
About Berkshire Partners LLC
Berkshire Partners, the Boston-based investment firm, pursues investments in both private equity and marketable securities. Since 1986, the firm has deployed capital from its eight private equity funds with $11 billion in aggregate capital commitments to invest in over 100 middle market companies, with a significant number of investments in retail and consumer-oriented businesses. Prior transactions include Aritzia, a North American women’s fashion apparel retailer; Bare Escentuals, a marketer and retailer of branded cosmetics and skin care products; Carter’s, a marketer and retailer of branded baby and young children’s apparel; Coty Inc., a global designer, manufacturer and marketer of beauty products; Farm Boy, a grocery retailer specializing in quality fresh foods; and Melissa & Doug, a designer and manufacturer of educational toys and children’s products.