Susan Engel, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Engel joined Portero as CEO at the beginning of July. Previously, she had been Chairwoman and CEO of Lenox Group Inc., which is well known for its tabletop lines as well as its collectibles and Christmas lines from Department 56. The Company marketed its products through: department and specialty stores, mass merchants as well as direct mail catalogs, the internet and its own full price and outlet retail stores.
In the early years of her business career, after graduating from Cornell University, she worked for the JCPenney Company (when it was still headquartered in NYC) in a wide variety of Human Resources and Marketing positions. After receiving her MBA from Harvard Business School, she then spent the next 14 years at Booz, Allen and Hamilton leaving as a partner in the firm’s general management consulting practice focusing on retail and consumer goods to join Champion products, a division of the Sara Lee Inc. At Champion, she helped build the brand through its own branded performance athletic apparel and through its branded licensed businesses with college bookstores and the NBA and NFL. The products were sold in a diverse set of channels: including department and mid-tier stores, specialty and big box sporting goods stores and through a limited number of its own outlet stores.
William R. Engles, Jr., Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Engles has 20 years of operating and financial transaction experience as a senior manager and an investment banker. He joined Portero from Palisades Associates, a merchant banking firm, where, in addition to assisting in identifying, evaluating, and consummating transactions, he was responsible for the finance operations and for implementing a number of operational initiatives at a $100 million portfolio company. Prior to that, Mr. Engles was the CFO of Synergy Technologies, a publicly-traded early-stage oil and gas technology company, where he helped engineer a successful reorganization and subsequent sale of the company. Before joining Synergy, he served as the CFO of PartMiner, Inc., which operates the leading business-to-business online marketplace in the semiconductor industry. Prior to these operating roles, Mr. Engles spent 13 years as an investment banker, at Bear Stearns and Salomon Brothers, where he advised clients in the media, telecommunications, and technology industries. Mr. Engles holds MBA and JD degrees from the University of Chicago and an AB in economics from Harvard College.
Board of Directors
Jon Brilliant (Chairman), Atelier Fund
Mr. Brilliant, as one of three partners, helped launch in early 2006 the Atelier Fund, a private equity fund focused on the luxury goods marketplace. Prior to this Mr. Brilliant was the Managing Director for the US operations of Syntek Capital AG, a €400 million European private equity fund with offices in Munich, Milan, Tel Aviv that invested in media and technology companies. Before joining Syntek, Mr. Brilliant was Director of Business Development at Harrods in London, where he was responsible for worldwide business development, strategy, and eCommerce and oversaw aspects of the personal portfolio of private companies of the owner of Harrods. Before Harrods, Mr. Brilliant was the Chief Web Officer of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., currently the 17th largest privately held company in the United States (over $9.0 billion in revenue), where he was responsible for overall Internet strategy and development. In addition to being on the board of Portero, Mr. Brilliant sits on the board of Adam+Eve, Harrys of London, Mary Norton, Kaenon, C2Media, and WellDoc Communications. Mr. Brilliant previously served on the board of directors of WildBrain and eCommLink.
Leslie Frécon, LFE Capital
Prior to founding LFE Capital, Ms. Frécon was senior vice president, corporate finance, at General Mills, where she held management positions in corporate finance and operations. Her success as a business executive leading operating teams and executing business transactions, together with her appreciation for an underserved and growing segment of the small business market, formed the basis for her first fund. Prior to her almost 17 years at General Mills, Ms. Frécon was a corporate lending officer at Bank of America in Los Angeles. Ms. Frécon is a director of The Ryland Group, a NYSE company and one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. She is a director of Portero, M.A. Gedney, and Avant Healthcare, LFE Capital portfolio companies. She is also a director of Associated Packaging Company, a Castle Harlan portfolio company. Ms. Frécon is an executive board member of the Greater Twin Cities United Way. She is an advisory board member of the Center for Women’s Business Research in Washington, D.C. and WomenVenture, a Minnesota non-profit agency. Ms. Frecon is also a member of the Minnesota Women's Economic Roundtable and the Women Presidents' Organization. She holds an M.B.A. in finance from UCLA and a B.A. with distinction from Stanford University.
Heidi Sinclair, Heidi Sinclair & Co.
Ms. Sinclair is a highly respected 25-year communications and marketing veteran who combines insightful strategic consulting with operational strength. She runs the marketing, communications and philanthropic consulting firm, Heidi Sinclair & Co., developing strategies, platforms and creative concepts that enable leaders, brands and organizations to achieve their highest potential. Previously, she served as Chief Communications Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with responsibility for the Foundation’s communications to all stake holders and the general public globally. From 1998-2007, Ms. Sinclair worked for Burston-Marsteller in several capacities, culminating in her position as CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Ms. Sinclair graduated from Stanford University with an A.B. in English. She is a four-time Young Entrepreneur award winner, and has been the recipient of numerous marketing and communications honors. She is on the board of the Women’s Leadership Fund, several corporate advisory boards, and is a member of the Young/World President’s Organization; the International Women’s Forum and frequently writes and lectures about the future of media, is a regular commentator on CNBC and authors two blogs, From a Trusted Source (www.heidisinclair.wordpress.com) and for the Huffington Post.