Team

Portrait

Paul Walsh, Executive Chairman

Paul Walsh has a wealth of experience as Chief Executive Officer of a large multinational branded consumer products corporation operating in highly regulated markets. Mr. Walsh was the Chief Executive Officer of Diageo, the world’s largest spirits company, from 2000 to 2013. Prior to that, Mr. Walsh was the Chairman and President of The Pillsbury Company from 1996 to 1999, part of Grand Metropolitan, the predecessor to Diageo. Under Mr. Walsh’s leadership, Diageo was transformed from a multi-national conglomerate into a focused global market leading spirits business via a combination of organic growth and significant acquisitions. Mr. Walsh and his management team created over $80 billion of shareholder value while he was CEO of Diageo. Mr. Walsh has substantial corporate leadership experience, knowledge of consumer-centric companies, international operations expertise, and experience with regulated industries. He has also held executive-level finance positions, including as Chief Financial Officer of Grand Metropolitan Foods and Intercontinental Hotels. Throughout his career, Mr. Walsh has built success and growth at his companies through the deployment of effective brand development and marketing strategies, which brings added perspective to our Board. Notable successes include the creation of the Johnnie Walker family of Scotch Whiskey brands. Mr. Walsh also serves as Executive Chairman of McLaren Group and is a non-executive director of McDonald’s Corporation and FedEx Corporation. He is a former Chairman of Compass, the world’s largest food service Company, and served on a number of other major corporate Boards including HSBC.

Portrait

Mark Harms, CEO and Director

Mark is our CEO and one of our directors, he is also a founder and Joint Managing Partner of Bespoke. Prior to Bespoke, Mr. Harms founded GLP in 2004, where he is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. GLP has advised on over $60 billion of transactions to date, deploying over $500 million of capital into a number of investments and developed an industry leading operating executive network with 75+ members. Mr. Harms has completed over 130 advisory and principal transactions in North and South America, Europe and Australia. Mr. Harms has extensive experience with regard to leveraged debt, mezzanine and equity financing techniques in Europe and the U.S. with over $100 billion in completed transactions. Prior to founding GLP, Mr. Harms worked at Oppenheimer as a Managing Director and at CIBC World Markets as the founder and head of the Consumer Growth Group. Mr. Harms built within the Consumer Growth Group strong industry verticals in branded consumer products and services, gaming, health and fitness, specialty retail and travel and tourism. Mr. Harms currently sits on the board of Bespoke’s portfolio companies, World Fitness Services and Vinventions, as well as Olympic Entertainment. Mr. Harms was on the Board of 24 Hour Fitness, a Bespoke portfolio company until December 2020. Mr. Harms was a Vice Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council from 2009 to 2014 and is a member and on the board of the International Association of Gaming Advisors. He was also a non-executive director on a number of other charitable, educational and non for profit boards. Mr. Harms has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from the University of Michigan.

Portrait

Rob Berner, Director

Robert L. Berner III is one of our directors as well as a founder and Joint Managing Partner, Chief Investment Officer of Bespoke and Chairman of Bespoke’s Investment Committee. He has been active in the private equity industry for over 30 years. Mr. Berner has sat on numerous boards and is currently Chairman of Johnnie-O LLC (men’s lifestyle brand). Mr. Berner also was a principal investor in, and Chairman of Diversified Distribution Systems, LLC (DDS), the largest specialty retail distribution and services business in the United States, which was recently sold very successfully to Bunzl Plc. Mr. Berner was previously a Partner at CVC, a global private equity firm with over $50 billion of assets under management and assisted in the opening and development of the firm’s US efforts, including serving as Chairman of CVC US. Prior to CVC, he served as a Managing Director at Ripplewood Holdings and was a member of the firm’s Investment Committee. Prior thereto, Mr. Berner was a Partner and member of the Investment Committee of Charterhouse International. Mr. Berner began his career in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley where he was a Principal in the mergers and acquisitions department. Mr. Berner also serves on the boards of Bespoke’s portfolio company, Vinventions. In addition, Mr. Berner has acted as a non-executive director on the boards of over 25 private equity portfolio companies during his private equity career and has sat on the board of several charitable and not for profit organizations. Mr. Berner has an MBA from Northwestern University and a BBA in Finance from the University of Notre Dame.