Laurence Franklin

For over thirty years, Laurence Franklin has been transforming internationally renowned consumer brands in the fashion, cosmetics, accessories and home furnishings industries. In addition, Mr. Franklin has an extensive track record of creating value through both P and L and balance sheet management, building high performance and aligned management teams, and working constructively and fluidly with private equity and institutional partners.

Born in South Africa, Laurence also lived in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and Zambia before going to the USA in 1970 to begin his university studies. After graduate school in 1975, he joined Peat Marwick Mitchell in their audit and then transaction services group, and later worked in the management consulting services division of Price Waterhouse & Co. From 1980 until 1985, he worked as an independent consultant with fast growing or leveraged businesses. In 1986, he joined Tumi Inc. after assisting the founder in buying out the other partners and structuring this emerging business for growth. Under his direction the company developed its premium positioning and emerged as a leader in product design and innovation, service and quality. In seven years Tumi sales increased from under $5.0 MM to approximately $50.0 MM. In 1993, he left Tumi to become the president of Coach, then a division of Sara Lee. During his time as head of Coach its sales more than doubled to over half a billion dollars, the first licensing initiatives were undertaken, and the platform for Coach as a billion dollar brand was developed. In 1996, he left Coach to join Unilever as the executive vice president and general manager of the designer fragrance and cosmetics businesses managed through the Elizabeth Arden division. Then in 1999, he rejoined Tumi as president responsible for strategic development and for positioning the business for a private equity investment, which took place in September 2002. Following this event, he was appointed CEO of Tumi and was responsible for overseeing the brand’s rapid expansion both domestically and internationally, and for the growth of both women’s and men’s products in the luggage and lifestyle accessory categories. In 2004, he led the company through another highly successful private equity transaction and remained as CEO as the company continued its significant US and international expansion. He retired as CEO in 2009 with global sales of the Tumi distribution network exceeding $500 MM, remaining as an advisor and Board member until shortly before its 2012 IPO.

In 2011, after working as an advisor and independent Board member of several companies with private equity investors, Mr. Franklin joined Frette, a leading luxury linen and home furnishings brand, as CEO, to oversee a turnaround and position that business for growth. He spent two and a half years in Milan with Frette, and in February 2014 returned to independent advisory work and to making investments in high potential, small consumer goods companies. He is a member of the Board of Directors (former Board Chairman and currently Chair of the Audit Committee) of Rosetta Stone, the world’s foremost language and literacy learning technology company (RST – NYSE), a member of the Board of Travelpro, a leading mid-market luggage brand in the US and Canada (MidOcean Partners), as well as Buster + Punch, a UK based home hardware, lighting and accessory company (Mobeus Equity Partners). He has invested in and advises other (private) companies including Beija-Flor Jeans, and Amazing Cosmetics.

Laurence received his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, a M.S. from the New York University Graduate School of Business and is a (non-practicing) CPA. Once nationally ranked in the top 10 in squash racquets, he still enjoys the occasional game with his children. He resides in Los Angeles, CA and Milan, Italy.

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