John Lilly is President of John Lilly Strategic Insights LLC (JLSI), a consulting practice he began in 2002. His firm provides advisory services to a wide range of growth-oriented businesses. His primary focus is on consumer-driven industries, including both branded and non-branded products and services; across all distribution channels in the US, Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Lilly is also an active growth equity investor in Early-Stage companies through his investment company, Lateral Capital LLC. Lateral has invested in 27 companies including sleep improvement devices, college fund raising, debit cards, LED lighting for agriculture and cancer vaccines. Investments are sourced directly and through five Angel groups across the US including Golden Seeds (New York), Tamiami Angels (Naples), Band of Angels (Palo Alto), Twin Cities Angels (Minneapolis) and Seraph Group (Atlanta).
Mr. Lilly has an extensive background in consumer products management, having built more than 50 branded businesses in 25 countries over 27 years as an executive at Procter & Gamble and CEO at The Pillsbury Company. He began his career at P&G in 1976 and was responsible at one time or another for almost all of that company’s laundry, paper, food and beverage brands. This culminated in a six year assignment in Frankfurt, Germany, where John had managerial scope for the paper and beverage businesses in P&G’s Europe, Middle East and Africa Division. His experience base includes responsibility for Pampers, Pringles, Punica, Cheer, Always, Folgers, Gain, Duncan Hines, Sunny Delight, Ivory Liquid, Olestra, Attends and Dawn.
In 1997, Mr. Lilly left P&G to join The Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis, first as President of Pillsbury North America and then as CEO for The Pillsbury Company worldwide. At that time, Pillsbury was a $6.8B manufacturer and marketer of such brands as Pillsbury, Green Giant, Haagen-Dazs, Totinos, Old El Paso and Progresso. Pillsbury had leading retail and foodservice businesses in 25 countries including China, India and Argentina. The company was sold to General Mills in 2002 for $10.5B (12.2X EBITDA) in what is broadly seen as a highly successful consolidation transaction.
After Pillsbury became part of General Mills, Mr. Lilly “changed careers,” putting his experience to work full time as an investor/advisor. Through his consultancy, he has provided investment sourcing, due diligence and operating counsel to several Private Equity funds including Calera Capital, TPG Capital, TPG Growth, Goldman Sachs PIA, Centerbridge Partners and Equity Group Investments. As a FINRA registered representative, he works with clients of Duff & Phelps (NYSE: DUF) on merger and acquisition projects. JLSI also provides strategic planning counsel using the Five Questions│One Page ® and One Page Strategic Plan® processes developed with two former P&G colleagues.
Mr. Lilly has significant public and private Board experience. He was on the Board of NASDAQ-listed Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, a manufacturer of OTC/Rx respiratory therapies; sold in 2008 to Reckitt Benckiser. He was a nominee of InBev NV/SA as an independent director of Anheuser-Busch; in conjunction with InBev’s successful acquisition of AB in 2009. He was a Director of NYSE-listed Terra Industries, a producer of nitrogen-based fertilizer; sold to CF Industries in March, 2010. He is currently a Director of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, owners of Rock Bottom Breweries, Gordon Biersch and Old Chicago Pizza. He is a Trustee of Sarah Lawrence College.
John is married to Katherine Moore-Lilly, a Chemical Engineer with a 20 year career in product development at Procter & Gamble. They have twin college-age children and split their residence between Longboat Key, Vail and their principle residence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.