John Linehan has over twenty-five years of experience in consumer goods and related industries. He has consistently developed and executed strategies that have accelerated successful growth across multiple channels of distribution.
Linehan began his career at Procter & Gamble where he moved through their sales management organization selling food products. He then joined the Clorox Company where, for seventeen years, he held positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing and general management. Much of his time there was spent on turning around stagnant or struggling businesses both domestically and internationally; this is where he honed his skills at developing strategic plans for successful growth.
His many assignments at Clorox taught him to adapt quickly to a wide variety of business situations. He worked with numerous product categories that were sold through many trade channels including grocery, mass, drug, department, food service and many more. As National Sales Director of Brita water filter systems (a Clorox subsidiary), sales volume grew at triple digit annual growth from $10m to over $100m in just three years. During that assignment, Linehan became enamored with the fast pace, flexibility and excitement of smaller businesses.
In 1997, Linehan left Clorox to pursue his passion for new challenges in smaller business environments. He joined IDV Wines as Vice President of Marketing and played an active role in developing a strategy that resulted in the successful integration of eight mergers and acquisitions in less than two years resulting in the creation of the largest beverage alcohol company in the world, Diageo. Returning to his passion for smaller companies, he then joined PowerBar to assist the founders in preparing the company for a liquidity event. The plan exceeded its goals ahead of schedule and the company was sold for a world record price. Linehan then joined a retail sales floor technology company, Imagicast, as EVP of sales & marketing and was later appointed COO. Linehan also served as President and CEO of Guardian Angel Holdings, Inc. a San Francisco consumer goods company.
As Managing Director of Linehan Consulting, he is actively involved in helping consumer goods companies be more successful primarily through work in three areas: assisting executive teams to develop and execute strategies for successful growth; advising investors on potential acquisitions in the consumer goods industry; and assuming line responsibility during transition periods. In 2004, he was acting C.E.O. at Wabi, Inc. during such a transition. More recently, he has worked closely with Method, Inc., www.methodhome.com, in the development and implemention of their strategic growth plan and where he assumed line responsibility as V.P. Sales for six months while assisting in the restructure of their sales organization. Linehan is also helping companies such as King's Hawaiian, www.kingshawaiian.com, to develop strategic plans for accelerated growth.
He is a graduate of Trinity College where he was president of the student government and started two small businesses. He resides in San Francisco with his wife and two young boys. He is active as a Board member of their school, Schools of the Sacred Heart, where he worked for two years on its successful capital campaign that raising over $17 million for the construction of a new high school and a new science and arts building. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Megan Furth Academy and the Board of Directors of InvestStar, a financial services company.
For over twenty-five years, Connie Linehan has driven standout results for a variety of CPG brands including Frito-Lay, Spice Islands, Brita, and Clorox – among others. In her time with those companies, she developed expertise in finance management, consumer marketing, key account sales, DSD delivery, and e-commerce development. This rare multi-angle approach to business has given her a more holistic understanding of how to build brands in partnership with key retailers and clients.
A native of the South, she began her career at Frito-Lay’s Dallas headquarters, assessing the strategic and financial impact of business initiatives like new product launches and acquisitions. There Connie developed the sharp perspective on a project’s cross-function and bottom-line implications that continues to guide her work today. Realizing the importance of front-line experience, she transferred into sales and was assigned a delivery truck and route in downtown Memphis, where she in turn developed shrewd POS instincts. Her career quickly accelerated, and she was given national responsibility for non-food accounts such as Target and Walgreens. Soon thereafter, she moved to the Bay Area and assumed responsibility for Northern California HQ key accounts sales, warehouse operations and logistics, and over one hundred unionized employees in route sales and operations.
In 1986, already in love with the San Francisco Bay Area, Connie fell for her future husband and decided to turn down a promotion back to Dallas. Instead, she accepted a position as Director of Marketing for Specialty Brands – which includes the Marie’s line of salad dressings, Lindsay Olives, and Spice Islands – and was tasked with invigorating the spice and seasoning brand by reducing its reliance on trade spending, launching new products, and increasing shopper engagement. This honed her skills in consumer marketing and her success positioned the company for its desired subsequent acquisition. Connie then joined ADVO, the nation’s largest direct mail agency, and managed the group that developed campaigns for large retailers like Safeway, Long’s, and Lucky. At ADVO, she developed an insider’s perspective on how retailers think and market to consumers.
In 1996, eager to balance work and the needs of two young children at home, Connie founded Consumer Connection, Inc., a CPG brokerage and consulting firm. For a decade and a half, she and her associates have helped manufacturers – including Clorox, Nestle, and King’s Hawaiian – manage their distribution in and merchandising with key retailers, execute specific projects like new product development, and form and implement successful strategic plans. In recent years, Consumer Connection and its Linehan Consulting division have become a leader in e-commerce channel development through its close relationships with leading online retailers – including Amazon, Drugstore.com, and Soap.com.
Connie holds a double bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management from the Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs Graduate School of Business. She resides in San Francisco with her husband of twenty-four years. After years of volunteer work leading school Parent Board committees and fundraising efforts, she celebrated her eldest son’s matriculation to Georgetown University in 2008 and her younger son’s to Boston College in 2010.
Mr. Brooks is a retired partner from Accenture (previously named Andersen Consulting), who was with the firm for 26 years and was an equity partner for 16 years. His career has included major consulting engagements in the Food and Consumer Products, Electronics/High Tech, Pharmaceuticals, Oil and Chemicals, and Telecommunications industries. During his career he was an expatriate in both Europe and Asia, and has strong multinational management experience. He has directed significant engagements in all aspects of Accenture’s practice, including the areas of strategy, process, change management, technology, and business process outsourcing. Throughout his career he has strongly emphasized: the Food Retailing and Consumer Products industries; sales, marketing, customer support, and logistics activities and processes; and enterprise system selection and implementation.
He lives in San Francisco and is 60 years old. He joined the Andersen Consulting in 1972, was promoted to partner in 1982, and since 1982 has been a part of its San Francisco, London, Chicago World Headquarters, and Tokyo offices. He received both a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering, and an MBA degree from Stanford University.
Between 1982 and 1988, he was worldwide Director of Andersen Consulting’s Sales, Marketing and Logistics functional practice areas and has had extensive experience in each of its four major areas (customer service, logistics and distribution, sales and marketing, and market studies). From 1984 to 1987, he was an expatriate in our London office supporting the United Kingdom and European practice. Between 1989 and 1993, he was a part of Accenture’s World Headquarters in Chicago where he was Worldwide Director of Enterprise Systems Products and Alliances (which included products and alliances for Customer Service and Logistics, Discrete Manufacturing, and Process Manufacturing). From 1993 to 1996, he directed the Consumer Products Industry Practice and SMART STORE activities in Japan. From 1996 until his retirement, he directed the promotion, negotiation and start-up of large business process reengineering and outsourcing engagements.
While in Japan, Mr. Brooks was an active member of CIES, and was co-leader of its annual conference planning task force in 1995 and 1996. Also, from 1993 – 1995 he was Vice-Chairman of the Trade Expansion Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
Prior to Japan, he was an active participant in Accenturer’s firm-wide activities with U.S. organizations such as the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (previously Council of Logistics Management ), the Association of Field Service Management (AFSM), the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors (NAW), and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). While in Europe, he led firm wide activities with CIES, and the Institute of Physical Distribution Management (IPDM).
Mr. Brooks has been a strategic advisor to Linehan Consulting since 2007.
Marcy Abramowitz has nearly 20 years of marketing and strategy experience, and has helped build successful consumer brands like Clorox Bleach, KC Masterpiece and Brita. Under her marketing leadership, Brita was voted as having produced the “Best Overall Marketing” at Clorox three times, and the business was featured in the company’s annual report for its creation of shareholder value. Marcy has repeatedly proven her ability to create and execute compelling consumer propositions that deliver excellent results for major franchises, fragile new brands and start-ups.
During 14 years in various marketing capacities at The Clorox Company, Marcy’s most notable experience was leading the marketing efforts of Brita Water Filters, Clorox’s most successful new product venture. During her nearly five year tenure, Brita established water filtration as an every-day way to treat tap water and an attractive alternative to bottled water. Driven in large part by marketing, Brita evolved from a venture group delivering less than $10M in sales and a net loss, to a $150M division generating $40M in profit. Most significantly, Brita changed consumer behavior in how Americans drink tap water, as household penetration grew from less than 1% to 10% (25% in its largest market) and market share rose from 20% to 65%.
Marcy spearheaded Brita’s “great taste” positioning, a compelling and ownable consumer equity in the emerging water filtration market. Initially advertised and promoted on a shoestring budget, Marcy created a cohesive program spanning packaging, promotion, sampling and advertising, which ultimately drove national brand awareness to 50%. Brita’s positioning and advertising campaign endured for over a decade. Marcy’s contribution to Brita’s success was recognized by her Clorox marketing peers when she received a “Personal Achievement Award”.
Following Brita, Marcy led Clorox’s New Ventures group, with a charter to identify, qualify and pursue innovative, externally-developed product ideas. Marcy established a quick, inexpensive and creative process of evaluating opportunities via an employee usage panel. Greater than 90% of new concepts tested by the New Ventures Group achieved purchase intent scores in the top 50% of BASES’ database, and several products were accepted into Businesses’ Strategic Product Plans.
Marcy’s earlier brand management experiences included Clorox Bleach and KC Masterpiece at Clorox, and while at General Foods, Kool-Aid flavored beverages. Early in Marcy’s career, she was an analyst with Applied Decision Analysis, a management consultancy specializing in the development of analytic models for electric utilities and industrial clients. She also served as a teaching assistant for the Decision Sciences class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Now focusing her consulting practice on entrepreneurial and business building opportunities, Marcy most recently led the successful marketing efforts of a new product development project for a private label snack food company looking to extend its portfolio to higher margin, branded products. Working in conjunction with a small team of seasoned new product professionals, she co-wrote the product development brief, crafted the branding and packaging strategies, and oversaw all consumer research. Throughout the project, Marcy ensured that all aspects of the product’s creation, naming, packaging and positioning would provide the foundation for an enduring consumer franchise.
Marcy holds an MBA in General Management from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Wellesley College. She lives in Menlo Park with her husband and two children. Marcy is active in her community, now serving her third year (last year as Chair) on the Encinal Elementary School Site Council. Marcy served six years on the Board of Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto, four of those on its Executive Board: two as Vice President of Education, where she led the hiring of a new school principal, and another two as Vice President/Treasurer. Marcy currently sits on their Finance Committee.