Rick Lenny, former chair and CEO of The Hershey Company, has joined the San Franciso-based p.e. firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe as an operating partner.
FFL says companies in its portfolio will benefit from the expertise of a man once named one of the “Best CEOs in America” by Institutional Investor. In addition to providing management and operating advice to portfolio companies, both formally and as a board member, Lenny will help FFL 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.”
Lenny served at Hershey from 2001 to 2007, prior to which he’d held leadership positions with prominent consumer goods companies including Nabisco Biscuit Company, where he’d served as president; Pillsbury North America, where he’d also been president; and 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 McDonald’s Corporation, Discover Financial Services and ConAgra Foods.
“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.
With approximately $2.5 billion under management, FFL focuses on U.S. middle-market companies. FFL’s investments have included Tempur-Pedic International, Milestone AV Technologies, CapitalSource, Korn/Ferry International and GeoVera Insurance Group.