Castanea Partners invests in Proenza Schouler

Castanea Partners said Monday it has acquired a minority stake in Proenza Schouler. Financial terms weren’t announced. Proenza Schouler is a New York-based luxury fashion brand. Shirley Cook, Proenza Schouler’s CEO, is stepping down as part of the deal. Ron Frasch, former President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Saks Fifth Avenue and currently an operating partner at Castanea, is assuming the role as Interim CEO.


NEWTON, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Castanea Partners announced today that it has acquired a minority interest in Proenza Schouler, the New York-based luxury fashion brand, joining existing investors.

Proenza Schouler is a global luxury accessories and women’s apparel business with points of sale in more than 20 countries worldwide through exclusive department stores and boutiques and ten freestanding stores. Founded in 2002 by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the designers have been from the company’s inception at the forefront of fashion, and have garnered numerous awards, including five CFDA awards for their designs in womenswear and accessories.
Shirley Cook, who has held the title of CEO since the company’s founding, will be stepping down as part of the transaction. She has played a pivotal role in the development of the brand and recently spearheaded the investment by Castanea Partners and a licensing deal with L’Oréal to launch the brand’s first fragrance.
Ron Frasch, former President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Saks Fifth Avenue and currently an operating partner at Castanea, will be joining Proenza Schouler’s Board of Directors, along with Brian Knez, a Managing Partner at Castanea. Additionally, Ron will assume responsibilities as interim CEO.
Other board members include Rose Marie Bravo, former CEO of Burberry Group Plc, John Howard, Chief Executive of Irving Place Capital, and Andrew Rosen, CEO of Theory, Inc.
“Proenza Schouler is an exciting opportunity for Castanea and we very much look forward to working closely with the Proenza Schouler team to support the company’s continuing growth,” said Ron Frasch. “Jack and Lazaro, together with Shirley, have created a leading luxury brand with an award winning aesthetic and a compelling mix of categories, channels, and geographies.”
“Proenza Schouler is uniquely positioned in the luxury ready-to-wear and accessories market,” said Brian Knez. “We are very excited about the company’s tremendous potential to build on its distinct brand DNA and immense creative talent to continue to develop as an iconic worldwide brand.”
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Co-Founders and Creative Directors of Proenza Schouler, said: “We are very excited to embark on this new chapter with the help of Castanea Partners. They have a deep understanding of the business and a great respect for our creative vision. Together, we are committed to realizing our dream and to developing the Proenza Schouler brand globally.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Castanea
Castanea Partners is a middle-market consumer-focused private equity firm founded by operating executives and private equity professionals. We partner with promising small to middle-market companies in branded consumer products and services, including companies in the luxury fashion apparel, accessories, and jewelry sectors.
Castanea typically invests between $15M-$75M of equity in businesses where we have significant operating and investing expertise. Castanea has over $1B under management and is currently investing from a $600 million fourth fund.
More information about Castanea Partners is available at
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