Buyout firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe has added Richard Lenny, former chairman and chief executive of The Hershey Company, as an operating partner. Before Hershey, Lenny held high-profile roles including president of Nabisco Biscuit Co., president of Pillsbury North America, and various roles at Kraft Foods. San Francisco-based Friedman Fleischer & Lowe hase approximately $2.5 billion under management, and focuses on middle-market deals. In his new role at the firm, Lenny will help identify and evaluate new investment opportunities in the consumer products sector, as well as provide guidance to portfolio companies.
Friedman Fleischer & Lowe (FFL), a private equity firm focused on investments in middle market companies, today announced that Richard H. (Rick) Lenny, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Hershey Company, has joined the firm as an Operating Partner. In this role, Lenny will provide management and operating expertise to FFL’s portfolio companies, both informally and as a board member, and will help the firm identify and evaluate new investment opportunities in the consumer products sector.
“From inception, operational improvement has been a cornerstone of FFL’s investment strategy, and we are very excited to have an outstanding operator like Rick joining the firm,” said Tully Friedman, Chairman and CEO of FFL. “The current competitive environment is driving consumer goods companies to reconfigure their portfolios, resulting in divestitures of units that are no longer aligned with strategy or acquisitions of businesses that can help change their growth profile. This creates a tremendous opportunity for FFL, and Rick’s deep industry knowledge and relationships will be hugely additive as we seek and evaluate potential investments.”
During Lenny’s tenure at Hershey from 2001 to 2007, he was recognized as one of the “Best CEOs in America” by Institutional Investor magazine and named one of the 30 “World’s Most Respected CEOs” by Barron’s. Prior to Hershey, Lenny held leadership positions with prominent consumer goods companies including President of Nabisco Biscuit Company, President of Pillsbury North America, and at Kraft Foods, where he served in a number of senior marketing and sales positions during an 18-year tenure. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of McDonald’s Corporation, Discover Financial Services and ConAgra Foods, Inc.
“After meeting the team, it was clear that the professionals at FFL are extraordinary, with the knowledge and discipline to build strong businesses in the consumer products sector where I have spent my career,” said Lenny. “FFL’s investment track record is exceptional, and I truly admire the firm’s owner-operator orientation, where the objective is to help businesses become more adept in creating long-term, sustainable value. FFL’s standout investments in the consumer sector such as Discovery Foods, Milestone A/V, and Tempur-Pedic demonstrate their ability to apply large-company best practices to the middle market, and I look forward to contributing to the firm’s continuing success.”
Lenny is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, earning an MBA with honors in marketing and finance, and holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing, magna cum laude, from Georgia State University.
Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, LLC (FFL) is a San Francisco-based private equity firm with approximately $2.5 billion under management that is focused on investing in U.S. middle-market companies. Formed in 1997, FFL’s strategy is to invest in market-leading companies that generate high returns on invested capital and that have strong, defensible competitive positions, attractive growth prospects and outstanding management. Representative investments include: Tempur-Pedic International, Milestone AV Technologies, CapitalSource, Korn/Ferry International and GeoVera Insurance Group. For more information on FFL, visit www.fflpartners.com.