NEW YORK, NEW YORK – August 17, 2010 – Vestar Capital Partners, a leading U.S. and European private equity firm, announced today that it had appointed Neil Harrison as a Senior Advisor to the firm. Mr. Harrison was formerly the Chairman and CEO of Birds Eye Foods, where he was instrumental in transforming the company from a commodity vegetable producer to a leader in branded foods and meals. In December 2009, Vestar closed the sale of its Birds Eye Foods portfolio company for $1.3 billion to Pinnacle Foods.

Mr. Harrison brings to Vestar nearly 35 years of domestic and international food industry marketing, sales and finance experience. During his tenure at Birds Eye, Mr. Harrison led investments in marketing and new product development, which contributed to double-digit annual revenue and EBITDA growth. His career spans increasingly senior positions with Unilever, General Foods, PepsiCo, and Heinz. During his seven-year tenure at Heinz, Mr. Harrison developed the company’s U.S. frozen food business into a $1.5 billion growth engine, which consistently delivered superior sales and profit performance. Mr. Harrison currently serves as a director of the Solo Cup Company. Mr. Harrison holds a B.A. with honors in Economics from the University of Reading and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Harrison will work closely with Brian K. Ratzan, Managing Director and head of Vestar’s Consumer Sector group, and Kevin Mundt, Managing Director and President of Vestar Resources. “We are excited to welcome Neil to the Vestar Capital Partners team,” said Dan O’Connell, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vestar. “Neil’s operating expertise in business transformation through marketing leadership and product innovation will be a tremendous asset to the firm, and his extensive experience in the consumer sector will add a great deal of value to Vestar.”

“At this stage in my career, I want to explore opportunities to identify and advise on investments in the consumer sector, which I believe holds the potential for substantial value creation,” Mr. Harrison said. “As I share Vestar’s disciplined investment philosophy and genuine sense of partnership, I am delighted to work with its team again.”

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading global private equity firm with more than 22 years of experience investing in middle-market companies with $7 billion in assets currently under management. From its headquarters in New York, and through its five offices in the U.S. and Europe, Vestar employs its value-oriented investment approach across a variety of industries in companies ranging in total enterprise value from $250 million to $3 billion and operations in five key industry sectors: consumer/services, diversified industries, healthcare, media/ communication, and financial services. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams, family owners or corporations in a creative, flexible and entrepreneurial way to build long-term franchise and enterprise value. Since 1988, Vestar has completed 66 investments in companies with total enterprise value of over $30 billion. Vestar has operations in New York, Boston, Denver, Milan, Munich and Paris. For more information, please visit


Owen Blicksilver Public Relations
Carol Makovich
(203) 622-4781

Joanne Lessner
(212) 222-7436