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.

Portrait

Peter Caldini, Independent Director

Peter is one of our directors and is currently the CEO of Acreage Holdings, a US base cannabis company. Mr. Caldini has over 20 years of experience building and restructuring multinational organizations around the world and a strong consumer healthcare background. Mr. Caldini developed extensive commercial management expertise at Pfizer Inc., Bayer AG and Wyeth, LLC. Mr. Caldini was the Regional President North America for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare from 2017 to 2019. Prior to that role he was the Regional President EMEA of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare from 2016 to 2017 and led the Northern European cluster from 2015 to 2016. Mr. Caldini was at Bayer from 2009 to 2014, with roles including the head of sub-region Emerging Markets EMEA, the General Manager of Bayer Consumer Care China and the head of the Nutritionals Strategic Business unit, the global leader in nutritional supplements with brands One-A-Day, Berocca, and Supradyn. From 2002 to 2009 Mr. Caldini was at Wyeth LLC where he was responsible for affiliates across LATAM and AsiaPac and also managed the Centrum brand globally. Early in his career Mr. Caldini held various leadership roles in brand management at Unilever in the US and Europe. As President of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare North America Mr. Caldini was responsible for managing the 2nd largest OTC consumer healthcare company in the region with over $2.1 billion in net sales. He drove market share growth for leading brands Advil, Emergen-C, Nexium, Chapstick, and Prep-H and improved the profitability of the business unit. As Regional President, he drove organizational change, brand acceleration, marketing strategy, trade execution, global e-commerce and transitioned the business to a more integrated operating culture. Mr. Caldini simultaneously led the turnaround of the Pfizer Canada affiliate, the 2nd largest OTC company in the market. As Regional President EMEA of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare he managed a $580 million P&L with over 850 employees. He was credited for restructuring the region, resulting in above market revenue growth and significantly improved profitability. He led the turnaround of several underperforming affiliates including the UK, Spain, Russia, and the Middle East. He directed the successful brand launches of Nexium across Europe and the Viagra switch in the UK. He also led the successful acquisition of B-Total, a leading vitamin B brand in Italy and the integration of Ferrosan in the Nordics and Russia. Mr. Caldini holds board roles with healthcare companies Kramer Labs, Solvotrin, and PreMark Pharma. He has a Masters of International Economics and Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, an MBA from Northeastern University and a BA, Political Science from Boston University. Mr. Caldini holds US and Italian citizenship.

Portrait

Geoffrey Parkin, Independent Director

Geoff is one of our directors and a Partner at LEK Consulting LLP’s London office. He is a consumer markets expert and has broad experience assisting UK and international corporate and private equity clients with mission critical strategic issues, commercial performance improvement plans and due diligence assignments. Mr. Parkin has been with LEK for almost 20 years, and previously worked in commercial line management roles for British Airways and American Express, based in London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Mr. Parkin graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Sciences from U.M.I.S.T. and studied Corporate Finance at London Business School.

Portrait

Timothy Proctor, Independent Director

Tim is one of our directors. Mr. Proctor has 38 years of experience in the practice of law, primarily in the highly regulated industries of pharmaceuticals and drinks. After five years at Union Carbide Corporation, Mr. Proctor spent 13 years at Merck supporting pharmaceutical marketing and research activities worldwide. At Glaxo (now GlaxoSmithKline) Mr. Proctor was US general counsel with responsibility for the full range of legal activities in support of marketing, manufacturing, and research, including intellectual property, as well as corporate compliance. He moved with Glaxo to the head office in London to be global head of human resources, and while in London joined Diageo plc as global general counsel. His thirteen years at Diageo involved managing a worldwide team of lawyers in support of a number of marketing, M&A, regulatory, and compliance challenges, during a period of strong growth for the company. Mr. Proctor’s previous board service included the Northwestern Mutual, Wachovia Bank and Allergan, Inc. Mr. Proctor has MBA and JD degrees from the University of Chicago, earned in a joint program.

Portrait

Ian Starkey, Independent Director

Ian is one of our directors and the Chair of the Audit Committee. Mr. Starkey brings audit, M&A, management consulting and forensic accounting experience which he gained as a partner at KPMG (UK) where he spent over 35 years. At KPMG, Mr. Starkey was one of the most senior audit partners for over 20 years and was associated with companies such as Diageo plc, F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG and BAE Systems plc. He held various senior management roles, primarily as head of the Consumer Goods markets sector for the UK and Europe. He was a member of the boards of KPMG Europe and KPMG UK LLP, where he chaired at various times the Audit & Risk and Remuneration & Nominations Committees. Mr. Starkey is currently a non-executive board member of DAC Beachcroft LLP, an international law firm, a member of Meyler Campbell’s Mastered Programme for executive coaching and is also involved in various finance and non-profit ventures. His career history brings to BCAC extensive experience of operating at board level in regulated businesses across a variety of sectors.