Meet The Team

Meet The Team

Scott S. Johnson

Scott S. JohnsonScott Johnson is the founder and CEO of middle-market private equity group SJ Partners, LLC (“SJP”).  Scott was named the 2015 M&A Atlas Award Dealmaker of the Year and had been named a “40 under 40” East Region M&A Advisor Recognition Awards.  He is also the Chairman of portfolio companies Osmotics LLC and Best Made Toys LLC.

SJP uses an operating partner focus to grow middle market consumer and services companies.  SJP has also been successful at growth by acquisition strategies.  Its portfolio company Spectrio grew more than twelvefold under SJP’s ownership, driven by fourteen add-on acquisitions, before being successfully exited to the Riverside Company.  This transaction won North American Deal of the Year at the 2015 M&A Atlas Awards.

Scott previously was a securities analyst at Salomon Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch (Merrill team rated #2 on Wall Street, according to Institutional Investor).  Scott complements his financial orientation with operating experience, having served as CFO of an in-store advertising company.

Scott regularly speaks at industry conferences and wrote “Leverage Buyouts: What, Why, When and How” for financial encyclopedia Q-Finance: The Ultimate Financial Resource.

Scott has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School.  He also received his BA, MBA, and MIA (Masters of International Affairs) from Columbia.  He teaches business to non-business groups and has designed a course he calls “One Day MBA” for such groups.

SJ Partners, SJ Partners transactions, and Scott personally have garnered multiple awards which include: winner of the 2015 M&A Atlas Dealmaker of the Year, winner of a 2015 ACG NY Champions firm of the year award, winner of the 2012 40 Under 40 East Region M&A Advisor Recognition Awards, winner (for SJP) of a 2012 Finance Monthly Global Award, finalist for the 2015 SmartCEO MoneyManager of the year, and a finalist for multiple ACG NY Champions Award (2011 deal of the year, 2015 deal of the year, and 2015 dealmaker of the year in addition to winning 2015 firm of the year, 2017 deal of the year).

Scott is a board member of the Association for Corporate Growth’s New York chapter and previously chaired its education committee.  Scott is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Business Executives for National Security and the Wings Club.

He is an instrument, multiengine land, multi and single engine seaplane, and glider rated commercial pilot with over 1,250 flight hours who volunteers his time to fly youth interested in flight as part of the Experimental Airplane Association’s (EAA) Young Eagles Program.

He speaks fluent French and enjoys running.

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Robert M. Philips

Bob Phillips is an SJ Partners consumer products operating partner and currently serves on the board of directors of SJ Partners portfolio company Osmotics LLC where he is also an investor.

Bob is a Managing Director of The Clarecastle Group, a marketing company which specializes in consumer and personal care products. He has also served a Senior Advisor to Peter J. Solomon Company.

From 1988 to 2000, Mr. Phillips was with Unilever PLC and Unilever NV where he served as the North American Business Group President and Global Coordinator of Personal Products. During his tenure at Unilever, he also served as Chief Executive Officer of Elizabeth Arden Company Worldwide and Chairman of Unilever Prestige Personal Products. In addition, Mr. Phillips was a director of Unilever from 1994 to 2000.

Prior to joining Unilever, Mr. Phillips held a number of senior brand management, marketing and executive positions at Chesebrough-Ponds, Inc., including President and Chief Operating Officer. Upon the acquisition of Chesebrough-Ponds, Inc. by Unilever in 1988, he was named President and CEO of the Chesebrough unit, holding that office until 1992. From 1979 to 1981, Mr. Phillips launched General Entertainment Corp., a unit of Nabisco, and also served as President of the Clairol division of Bristol Myers.

Mr. Phillips received a B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.B.A. from Columbia Graduate School of Business and an M.A. from the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

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Carter Pennington

Carter PenningtonCarter has over twenty-five years experience navigating companies through all aspects of the company lifecycle from growth to restructuring.  Carter has served as CFO and CEO of multiple companies in various industries with particular expertise in the consumer sector.

Previously, he worked as a director in the Turnaround & Restructuring Group of AlixPartners and as a strategic planning consulting with Novations Consulting Group.  His client engagements included Fortune 500 and middle-market companies in manufacturing, energy, publishing, hospitality, telecommunications, apparel and consumer products.

Prior to working in management consulting, Carter was the Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations at GFT International, Director of Business Planning at Revlon and held business planning positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ernst & Young.

Carter is a member of the Turnaround Management Association, American Bankruptcy Institute, the Association for Corporate Growth and served on the Board of Directors for the ARC Mercer.  He has participated in numerous speaking engagements on turnaround management and corporate growth.  He graduated with honors from the City University of New York at Brooklyn College and earned an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

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John Lunde

John Lunde is SJ Partner’s food distribution operating partner. He serves as the lead director at SJP portfolio company Native Maine, a transaction he sourced.

Over the course of his thirty-five-year career, Mr. Lunde has served as a senior executive in wide-ranging capacities at Kraft/Alliant Foodservice, US Foodservice, and Kayem Foods. While at Kraft/Alliant, Mr. Lunde’s roles included serving as a member of the company’s executive committee and as President of its 1,200 employee Northeast Division where he oversaw seven distribution business units with sales in excess $1 billion and integration of two major acquisitions.

At Kayem Foods, Mr. Lunde was Vice President of Sales and Marketing and a member of the company’s board of directors. Mr. Lunde was a Division President at US Foodservice. In 2002, Mr. Lunde was named a Director Emeritus of the North East Wholesale Food Distributors for his contributions to the food industry.

Mr. Lunde holds an M.BA. and a B.S. in marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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