Business Council: Who's Who
John M. Kenney
Managing Director, AEA
John Kenney joined AEA in 1999 and focuses on consumer products investments. Mr. Kenney co-led AEA's team on the acquisition of Burt's Bees and Acosta and was involved in the acquisition of Tampico Beverages. He serves on the board of directors of Acosta, Burt's Bees and Tampico Beverages. In addition, he has served as a director of a number of other AEA-related companies. Mr. Kenney also oversees AEA's European consumer products investment activities.
Before joining AEA, Mr. Kenney spent four years as a principal at Investcorp International where he was a senior member of the North American corporate investment team focusing primarily on consumer products investments. During his tenure at Investcorp, Mr. Kenney was involved with a number of successful investments, including Simmons Company, William Carter Co., and Star Markets. Previously, he spent four years at Centre Partners, the private equity investment vehicle of Lazard Frères. While at Centre Partners, he worked on a number of successful investments, including Muzak and Scientific Games.
Early in his career, Mr. Kenney was in the investment banking group of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette where he focused primarily on investments in the consumer products and retail sectors. He received a B.S. from Boston College.
Brian J. Knez
Partner, Castanea Partners
Brian J. Knez is a Founding Partner of Castanea Partners with 15 years of senior executive management and operating experience in the branded consumer products, retail, professional publishing, and education sectors.
Formerly, Brian was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. (NYSE: NMGA) where he was also co-CEO from 1999 to 2001 and had been a member of the Board of Directors since 1998.
Prior to co-founding Castanea Partners in 2001, Brian was also co-CEO of Harcourt General from 1999 until its sale in 2001 and was a director of the company from 1995 to 2001. At Harcourt, Brian held a number of management roles, including President and co-Chief Operating Officer and President and CEO of Harcourt, Inc., the publishing subsidiary of Harcourt General. He was formerly Treasurer of the Association of American Publishers and Director of the Scientific, Technical and Medical Association and the Research Libraries Group. Before joining General Cinema Corporation (predecessor to Harcourt General) in 1986 as Assistant to the President of General Cinema Beverages, Brian was an associate at the law firm of Choate, Hall and Stewart where he specialized in corporate law.
Brian received a J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School, where he was editor of Law Review, and a B.S. with highest distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Arizona.
Brian is a trustee of the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation. He currently serves as a director and a member of the executive committee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, and is a director of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Brian is also a trustee of the Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge.