Financo Gets Capital Investment from Execs

The New York-based boutique retail and consumer products investment bank Financo said Tuesday it received a capital investment from John Berg and Colin Welch and said Berg will take on the position of chief executive. Welch, who was previously CEO of Financo, will become the firm’s chief operating officer and chief executive of its European operations. The bank did not disclose the size of Berg’s and Welch’s investment. Berg most recently worked at private equity firm Weston Presidio Capital and previously was head of Bank of America Corp’s retail and consumer group.– REUTERS


Gilbert W. Harrison, Financo’s Chairman and Founder, announced today that John A. Berg and Colin S.A. Welch have agreed to make a significant investment in Financo, thus providing the capital to expand its resources and capabilities and positioning the firm for accelerated growth. In connection with their investment, Mr. Berg has joined Financo as CEO and Mr. Welch will continue as President and COO, and will be named CEO of Financo’s London-based European operations.

The investment reflects an intention to capitalize on Financo’s more than 40-year track record as a leading industry-focused advisory investment bank. Messrs. Berg and Welch, together with Mr. Harrison, intend to employ the new capital to implement initiatives designed to expand Financo’s capabilities and strengthen the firm. These initiatives include adding senior and junior bankers to support the firm’s core retail and consumer M&A franchise, expanding into new industry verticals and launching new business lines which may include private equity, restructuring advisory services and other value-added financial services products. In addition, the firm will look to significantly expand its London-based operations to enhance its European and cross-borderM&A capabilities.

Mr. Berg joins Financo after a25-year career focused on advising and investing in consumer businesses globally. For approximately half of his career, he built and ran the Retail and Consumer Products Group at Montgomery Securities and was Senior Managing Director and Head of the Retail and Consumer Group for Bank of America. He most recently served as a General Partner focusing on consumer investments for Weston Presidio Capital, a private equity firm managing over $3 billion in capital. During his career, he has advised many of the industry’s leading companies including Staples, Saks, Lowe’s, Dollar Tree, The Limited, Urban Outfitters, Wolverine Worldwide, Columbia Sportswear, Abercrombie and Fitch and Williams-Sonoma.

Gilbert Harrison, who will continue to utilize his deep industry expertise and extensive network to develop business opportunities for the firm, commented, “Mr. Berg and Mr. Welch possess outstanding reputations, skills and experience to take Financo to the next level. They will work to build on our solid franchise as a highly-focused boutique firm with the strongest relationships in our industry, while developing new capabilities to assist global clients with a wider range of complex transactions. I could not be more pleased to partner with these two seasoned executives, to whom I have entrusted the continued growth and success of the firm that I founded over 40 years ago.”

Colin Welch, who joined the firm last year, further commented, “Since I joined the firm, we have made significant progress on our strategic objective of enhancing the firm’s position in the marketplace including hiring new talent, relocating and expanding our corporate headquarters and increasing the size and scope of our client base. With additional capital and the professional expertise and experience of Mr. Berg, whom I have known and worked extensively with for over 15 years, we can now focus on accelerating our growth plans.”

John Berg commented “Mr. Welch introduced me to this unique opportunity a number of months back and it wassoon clear that we shared a similar vision for the future of the firm and for the tremendous opportunity that exists in today’s marketplace. I am delighted to be joining this partnership as CEO and am anxious to help build this franchise globally and helping consumer businesses with their financial and advisory needs.”

About Financo, Inc.

Financo, Inc., headquartered in New York City, was founded in 1971. It is an independent investment banking boutique providing merger and acquisition and other financial advisory services to the global retail and consumer sectors. The Firm’s significant transaction history is concentrated in the apparel, fashion, footwear, cosmetics, fragrance, e-commerce, and other merchandising-related sectors. For additional information, please visit the company’s web site at

About John A. Berg

John Berg is the CEO of Financo and brings a 25-year career focused on advising and investing in consumer businesses globally. For approximately half of his career, he built and ran the Retail and Consumer Products Group at Montgomery Securities, and after the sale of that firm to Nationsbanc/Bank of America, became Senior Managing Director and Head of the Retail and Consumer Group for Bank of America. During his tenure, he was involved in more than 135 transactions representing over $17billion in transaction value. As Managing Partner of Dorset Capital and a General Partner of Weston PresidioCapital, Mr. Berg sourced, led and oversaw growth capital investments in a number of different consumer businesses. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hanna Andersson, Robbins Brothers and French Country Living, as well as a Board member of Evenflo, Papyrus, SmartBargains (Rue La La,) 180s and Pasta Pomodoro. His experience as both a banker and an owner/Board member of consumer businesses will bring added perspective to Financo’s current and future clients. Mr. Berg received an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a B.A. from Williams College.

About Colin S. A. Welch

Mr. Welch is the President and COO of Financo and CEO of Financo Limited, the firm’s London-based European operations. He joined the firm in July 2011, after serving with Credit Suisse Securities Europe as Managing Director and Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa Retail and Luxury Goods Investment Banking. Prior to Credit Suisse, Mr. Welch served as Managing Director and Co-Head of Consumer & Retail Investment Banking, Europe and the Middle East at Lehman Brothers Europe Limited. He was previously employed by J.P. Morgan where he was a senior member of the firm’s retail sector investment banking coverage effort in North America and also held investment banking positions at Banc of America Securities and Montgomery Securities. He received an M.B.A from Harvard University, and a B.B.A. (with distinction) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison Undergraduate School of Business Administration.

About Gilbert W. Harrison

Mr. Harrison is the Founder and Chairman of Financo, Inc., which he founded in 1971. As one of the industry’s premier dealmakers, Mr. Harrison and his team have orchestrated hundreds of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures for retail, apparel, footwear and cosmetic clients. Mr. Harrison is highly involved in industry organizations and activities, including the Advisory Board of the World Retail Congress and the FT Business of Luxury Summit, and has been a speaker at the National RetailFederation, the International Association of Department Stores Conference and Russia Retail Summit. Among his charitable activities, he is a member of the Board of Advisors and Executive Committee of The Peggy Guggenheim Collection of the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation in Venice, the Fashion Forum Chairman of the UJA-Federation of New York’s Fashion Division, and Chairman Emeritus of The Educational Foundation of the Fashion Institute of Technology. Mr. Harrison received a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania in 1962 and a J.D. from The University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1965.