Jim joined the firm having spent 37 years in investment banking, 32 of which were at Lazard where he was a founding member of Lazard’s worldwide consumer, food and retail practice. At Lazard he advised many of the largest strategic food, retail and consumer companies on mergers and acquisitions and strategic financial advisory assignments. His clients included, among others, companies such as Danone, PepsiCo, Hershey, Wrigley, Campbell Soup, Casino, Signet plc and Kraft.
Following his retirement from Lazard, Jim became a Senior Advisor to Piper Jaffray before joining Southern Star Shipping where he oversaw worldwide corporate development activities. Southern Star is a family controlled, private investment company focused principally on shipping, food production and distribution, infrastructure and energy. Investments include a controlling position in the publicly traded Flour Mills of Nigeria, one of the largest food companies in Nigeria, and ELBISCO, a prominent baked products company in Greece.
From 1993 through 2005, Jim served as a member of the Board of Directors of Smart & Final and from 1998 he served as a member of the Board of the Hain-Celestial Group. He served as a director of Happy Baby Foods which was recently acquired by Danone and also served as member of the board of Gold Standard Baking, a privately held company.
Jim is a member of the Private and Public Scientific Academic and Consumer Food Policy Group, a public policy group jointly sponsored by the Institute of Politics and the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. He served as a member of the Board of Visitors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of the Boards of Visitors of the Kenan Flagler School of Business and the Honors Programs at UNC-CH. In addition, he is a member of the Board of the Center for Hearing and Communications.
Consumer Transactions that Jim has been involved with include the sale of Kraft, Inc. to Philip Morris Cos., the sale of Pet Inc. to Grand Metropolitan P.L.C., the acquisition of Snapple Beverage Corp. by The Quaker Oats Co., the sale of Kraft Frozen Desserts to Unilever, the sale of Marie’s by Campbell Soup Co. to Dean Food Co., the sale of Mrs. Paul’s by Campbell Soup Co. to Pinnacle Foods, Inc., the sale of WhiteWave Foods Co. to Dean Foods Co., the sale of Stonyfield Farm, Inc. to Groupe Danone, the sale of Gardetto’s Bakery, Inc. to General Mills, Inc., the sale of Vlasic to Pinnacle Foods, Inc., the acquisition of Celestial Seasonings by Hain Food Group , the sale of Golden State Foods to Yucaipa Cos., the acquisition of Nabisco Europe by Groupe Danone, the sale of Austin Quality Foods, Inc. to Keebler Foods Co., the acquisition of Keurig, Inc. by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., the acquisition of Nantucket Nectars by Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., the acquisition of Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. by Hershey Foods Corp., the Starbucks Coffee Co. grocery distribution joint venture with Kraft Foods, Inc., and the acquisition of Albertson’s, Inc. by SuperValu, Inc..
Outside of work Jim is personally invested in:
Every huge smile that appears on young people’s faces when the doctor turns on a cochlear implant and they hear sound for the first time.