Ron Frasch Joins Private Equity Group

by Harry Sheff

Ron FraschFormer Saks chief merchant Ron Frasch has joined Castanea Partners, a private equity firm, as an operating partner.

“Ron is a world-class merchant and a talented and experienced business executive,” said Castanea managing partner Brian Knez in a statement. “This is a rare skill set and we’re very excited to add Ron to the Castanea team. As a firm, we are focused on bringing unique operating experience and insight to our portfolio companies and Ron’s extensive knowledge and network in luxury goods and services will add significant value to our existing portfolio and help us identify exciting new opportunities for investment.”

Frasch joined Saks Fifth Avenue in 2004 and became president and chief merchandising officer in 2007. He left Saks last fall as the retailer was acquired by Hudson’s Bay Company. Before Saks, Frasch was CEO of Bergdorf Goodman for four years. He was also a GMM at Neiman Marcus. On the apparel side, Frasch was president of GFT USA and CEO of Escada USA.

Frasch commented, “I am very honored to be joining Castanea and to have the opportunity to be working closely again with Brian Knez and Rob Smith, both founders of Castanea, and to identify and partner with exceptional small and mid-size companies in the luxury women’s and men’s apparel, accessory, shoe, and jewelry sectors.”

Castanea Partners’ portfolio currently includes the footwear brand Donald J Pliner and several businesses in the health and beauty market. Castanea was an investor in the custom clothier Astor & Black until last fall when the company liquidated.