JW Childs Associates Taps Ex-GNC CEO Fortunato As Operating Partner

Jan 19 2017 | 10:57pm ET

Boston-based buyout firm J.W. Childs Associates has hired retail industry veteran and former GNC Holdings CEO Joseph Fortunato as an operating partner. 

In his new role, Fortunato will focus on evaluating, acquiring and growing businesses in the specialty retail industry, the company said. Prior to his appointment, Fortunato was already actively involved with numerous past and present J.W. Childs portfolio companies.

Fortunato was president and CEO of GNC Holdings, a leading global specialty retailer of health and wellness products, from 2005 through 2014, during which he generated substantial shareholder gains for several private equity investors including Ares Management, Apollo Management and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Prior to becoming CEO, Fortunato served GNC in several senior executive roles, including COO, EVP of Retail Operations and Store Development, SVP of Financial Operations, and Director of Financial Operations. 

“After 25 years of working with Joe as a leader in the specialty retail sector, I am delighted he is formally joining the J.W. Childs team,” said partner Bill Watts. “Joe has tremendous operating, financial and board management experience with retail businesses and has been instrumental in helping me steward numerous J.W. Childs portfolio companies.”

Founded in 1995, J.W. Childs Associates is a private equity firm focused on investing in middle-market growth companies. Since inception in 1995, J.W. Childs has invested approximately $3.4 billion of equity capital in more than 45 companies across the consumer, specialty retail and healthcare industries. 

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