Management and Directors
Chad Wagenheim has over 15 years of executive level business, finance, and operations experience with well-known consumer brands, ranging from launching high-profile early stage start-ups to growing larger scale public companies across the licensing, retail, wholesale, home, beauty, fashion, media, and Internet industries.
Prior to Sequential, Chad was SVP Finance & Operations for Aerin Lauder's luxury lifestyle brand - AERIN where he established and implemented its strategic & financial business plans, successfully executed the brand's launch (Fall 2012), and drove key initiatives across the company's licensing, wholesale, ecommerce, and retail brick & mortar platforms - with categories focused in the Beauty, Fashion Accessories, and Home Furnishings market segments.
Previously Chad held a similar role in leading all financial and licensing efforts for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's Retail Merchandising Division (NYSE:MSO). During his nearly 10 years with MSLO, the company successfully diversified the brand's licensing portfolio through a combination of organic growth and new acquisitions, which ultimately lead to the company growing its distribution to over 20,000 doors worldwide, and achieving annual retail sales of over $1 billion.
Earlier in his career, Chad held various finance and business management related positions with LivePerson Inc. (NASDAQ:LPSN), Prudential Financial, and the United States Department of Defense. Chad holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Monmouth University.
For nearly 20 years, Eric Gul has provided legal advice to a variety of public and private companies in the consumer products and services industry.
Prior to joining Sequential as General Counsel, Eric served as Senior Vice President & Corporate Counsel at Global Brands Group (GBG), one of the world’s leading distributors of branded apparel, accessories, footwear, and home goods. While at GBG, Eric spearheaded the company’s legal efforts on all licensing matters for a high profile roster of partners including Calvin Klein, Coach, Disney, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Quiksilver, Tommy Hilfiger, and Under Armour.
Throughout his legal career, Eric has worked closely with CEOs, CFOs, other members of executive management, and the Board of Directors on matters relating to licensing, brand management, intellectual property, marketing, acquisitions, joint ventures, finance, corporate governance/SEC compliance, human resources, contracts, and litigation.
Prior to GBG, Eric held senior legal positions at Tommy Hilfiger and TD Waterhouse (now TD Ameritrade).
Mr. Gul holds a J.D. from New York University and a B.A., magna cum laude, from UCLA. He lives in Englewood, New Jersey with his wife and two children.
Peter Lops has over 20 years of financial and operational experience in the licensing business. Most recently, Mr. Lops was at Viacom Media Networks where he served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the Distribution and Business Development division. In this role, he was an integral part of the leadership team that delivered industry leading double-digit growth for nine consecutive years. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis of Viacom Media Networks, and was also Vice President of Finance for Fox Television Stations, Inc. For nine years, he held financial roles at the National Football League serving as Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis, Finance Director and Controller.
Early in his career, Mr. Lops worked at Andersen LLP, where he led the IPO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
Mr. Lops is a graduate of Lafayette College and remains active in its alumni organization.
Prior to joining Sequential Brands Group as Active Division President, Eddie Esses was Co-Founder & CEO of Galaxy Brands Holdings. Prior to Galaxy, he served for more than 10 years as President of ES Originals (“ESO”), one of the largest privately held footwear companies in the world.
During his time at ESO, Eddie proved to be an innovator in the branded business. In 1990, he introduced brands into the mass market, starting with Voit. By its second full year, Voit was generating over $200 million in retail sales positioning it in the top 10 athletic brands in the country. Expanding on its success, Eddie took the concept into such brands as Gitano, Sasson and McGregor, among others, making ESO a one-stop shop for footwear. Eddie also has extensive experience with Direct-to-Retail partnerships with retailers including, Herman Survivors and Starter at Walmart, and Champion at Payless.
Utilizing his talents for defining “retail white space” and customized brand building, Eddie left ESO in 2011 to form the brand acquisition and management company Galaxy Brands. The company initially acquired the brand AND1 and shortly followed with Avia, Nevados and Linens ‘N Things. With product placement in both Sporting Goods Specialty Stores as well as Mass Market both domestically and internationally these brand generate close to $1 Billion in retail sales annually.
Eddie also dedicates a large portion of his time, effort and passion to his community and philanthropic activities. He has served in leadership roles in educational institutions as well as local Community Service organizations.
Educated in private schools and Brooklyn College in New York, Eddie first began his career in 1980 in sales, focusing on Brand Building and Niche Marketing.
Eddie lives with his wife, children and grandchildren in Brooklyn, NY.
Karen Castellano brings with her over 30 years in the fashion industry where she has built and launched some of the most powerful brands in the space.
Ms. Castellano joins Sequential from G-III Apparel Group, where she was President of Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Denim and Sportswear division and oversaw the design, sales, merchandising and marketing of the brand. Prior to that, she served as Executive Vice President of NYDJ Apparel, where she was responsible for leading the sales, retail planning, wholesale planning and merchandising. Under Castellano’s leadership, she transitioned NYDJ from a denim brand into a full lifestyle collection and expanded its international footprint.
Previously, Ms. Castellano served as Chief Executive Officer of TR Designs, Inc. where she managed and strategically led all aspects of the Tracy Reese and Plenty by Tracy Reese lines, designed by legendary American CFDA designer Tracy Reese, worldwide.
In 2007, Castellano was recruited by the CEO of Burberry to serve as Vice President of Burberry’s Menswear and Childrenswear wholesale business. In 1989, Ms. Castellano joined Liz Claiborne, where she spent almost 20 years serving in various roles including President of Claiborne Sportwear & Mens Mid-Tier Brands. She began her career at Bloomingdales, working in their executive buyer training program, and is a graduate of State University of New York at Binghamton.
In addition to being Chairman of Sequential Brands Group, Mr. William Sweedler is presently Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Tengram Capital Partners, a consumer private equity firm formed to invest in the consumer and retail sectors through its GEN2 Fund. In addition, he is Chairman of Windsong Brands, the first private equity vehicle he founded in 2006 to invest and acquire consumer branded intellectual property and businesses. Mr. Sweedler has over 20 years of experience in the consumer sector as an operator and strategic investor. Current portfolio companies and investments include Robert Graham, Field & Stream, Nest, Laura Geller, Carlos Falchi, Cloudveil, and Design Within Reach. Prior to founding Windsong Brands, he was president & CEO of JOE BOXER, a wholly owned division of the Iconix Brand Group (NASDAQ: ICON) of which he was Executive Vice President and Director. Iconix owns a diversified portfolio of highly recognized consumer brands that are licensed to leading retailers around the world and represent in excess of ten billion at retail annually.
Prior to Mr. Sweedler joining Iconix Brand Group, he was a founder of Windsong Allegiance Group, a diverse apparel marketer and brand manager. At Windsong Allegiance Group, he recognized an emerging industry trend that brought brands directly in partnership with retailers in the form of direct retail licensing agreements. While CEO, he led the acquisition, restructuring, and sale of the Joe Boxer, Hathaway, and various other branded companies at Windsong Allegiance Group. He has been lauded for his success and has received an award from the M&A Advisor by awarding JOE BOXER the 2005 middle market consumer products deal of the year.
He has served as a director to various public entities and is currently Chairman of Sequential Brands Group (OTC: SQBG), Co-Chairman of Robert Graham and Carlos Falchi. He is also a director at Field & Stream, Skip Barber Racing, and Design Within Reach (OTC: DWRI), Laura Geller, and Nest Home Fragrances.
He graduated from Babson College with a BS in Finance and Investments and joined Polo Ralph Lauren for four years prior to co-founding Windsong. He resides in Fairfield County with his wife and three children. Mr. Sweedler is a member of the Young President's Organization and donates his time to local charities.
Martha Stewart is Chief Creative Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Sequential. Before joining Sequential, Ms. Stewart was the Chief Creative Officer and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which she founded in 1996 and merged into Sequential in December 2015.
Ms. Stewart is an Emmy Award-winning television show host, entrepreneur, bestselling author and a trusted lifestyle expert and teacher. The Martha Stewart brand she built, currently reaches approximately 100 million consumers across all media and merchandising platforms each month. Additionally, Martha Stewart branded products can be found in over 70 million households and has a growing retail presence in thousands of locations.
Throughout the years, the Martha Stewart media and merchandising properties have been recognized by the industry for its award-winning content including multiple national magazine awards, multiple ASME awards for excellence in design and photography, 19 Emmys, 3 James Beard Awards, several Webby Awards and more.
Ms. Stewart earned a bachelor’s degree in history and architectural history at Barnard College.
Rodney S. Cohen is a Managing Director and Co-Head of Carlyle Growth Partners and Carlyle Equity Opportunity Fund, which represent the U.S. smaller and middle market buyout activities of The Carlyle Group. Mr. Cohen is based in New York.
Prior to joining Carlyle in 2010, Mr. Cohen was with Pegasus Capital Advisors, a middle-market investment firm with approximately $2 billion of assets under management, where he was a Co-Managing Partner.
In his two decades of private equity investing, operational restructuring and legal advisory work, Mr. Cohen has invested in a variety of sectors including commodities, natural resources, media, consumer, financial services, security and industrials.
Mr. Cohen joined Pegasus in 1996. From 1993 to 1996, he consulted and managed several diverse business ventures. Prior to that Mr. Cohen practiced law with Anderson Kill Olick and Oshinsky P.C.
Mr. Cohen earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College.
He serves as a trustee and executive committee member of the Randall's Island Sports Foundation, a director of FLEOA - Federal Law Enforcement Officers Foundation, on the Franklin and Marshall Leadership Council and as a board member of the After School All Stars.
Mr. Gossett is President, CEO and owner of Gossett Automotive Group, which he founded in 1988. Gossett Automotive Group consists of 15 automotive dealerships located in Memphis, TN. Gossett Automotive Group is the largest privately owned automotive group in the Mid-South Region. The various manufacturers under his umbrella include 2 Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, 2 Kia, 2 Hyundai, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Mazda, Mitsubishi and FIAT. Mr. Gossett began his career in the automotive industry in 1975 and acquired his first franchise in 1988. During the course of his career, Mr. Gossett has chaired or served on a number of district, regional and national dealer boards within the industry, including Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler Financial, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Financial, Suzuki and AIADA. He has received numerous awards for his accomplishments within the Automotive Industry.
Mr. Gossett has served as the managing partner of JALP, LLC (d/b/a FUL) since 2005. FUL is a wholesale business engaged in the global distribution of backpacks, luggage and apparel.
Beginning in June 2009, Mr. Gossett has served on the board of directors of Landmark Community Bank in Collierville, TN, a suburb of Memphis, TN.
An avid sports enthusiast, Mr. Gossett, is in the ownership group of the Memphis Grizzlies, a NBA team located in Memphis, TN.
He is active in charities supporting children in various capacities, and has been a strong supporter and advocate of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, located in Memphis, as well many other causes and charities nationwide.
Mr. Gossett attended Northwestern University.
Mr. Hollander is currently Chairman, CEO and President of First Aviation Services Inc., a leading worldwide provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services to the aerospace industry. From December 2001 to July 2009, Mr. Hollander also served as CEO of Skip Barber Racing School LLC and from 1993 until February 2012 served as Chairman and CEO of Imtek, LLC., an agency that provides direct marketing, printing, fulfillment, and location intelligence services to clients across a variety of industries. Earlier, Mr. Hollander co-founded First Equity Group, advising the aerospace and defense industries on significant transactions impacting those sectors. Prior to co-founding First Equity, Mr. Hollander worked for the Boston Consulting Group, and as a CPA and CMA with Arthur Young & Company (now Ernst & Young). Mr. Hollander received his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and earned an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.
Gary Johnson is an entrepreneur who has founded and built several growth companies over his professional career. Gary has an extensive background in both public and private equity owned companies, in the financial services, business services, and direct marketing industries.
Currently, Gary is Founder and Chairman of Capital Access Network, a 13 year old financial servies company that has funded over 100,000 small businesses with over $3 billion of capital. Previously, from 1989 to 2012, Mr. Johnson served as Chairman and CEO of Vertrue, Inc., one of the nation's leading consumer services marketing companies. Mr. Johnson co-founded the company in 1989 which was listed on NASDAQ from 1997-2007. In 2007, Vertrue was acquired in a go-private transaction.
Mr. Johnson received a B.S. in civil engineering from Tufts University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Stew Leonard Jr. is Chief Executive Officer of Stew Leonard's, a unique family owned and operated farm fresh food store generating approximately a half billion dollars in annual sales. Originally opened as a small dairy store in 1969 selling only 7 items, the company now has four locations in Connecticut and New York, operates nine wine stores in the tri-state area, and welcomes more than 20 million visitors to their stores every year. Dubbed the "Disneyland of Dairy Stores" by The New York Times for its commitment to freshness, quality and in-store entertainment, Stew Leonard's has earned world-wide acclaim for its distinctive approach to retailing and customer service. It has been featured in two of management expert Tom Peter's books, A Passion for Excellence and Thriving on Chaos, and was included on FORTUNE Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for ten consecutive years. The company is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the greatest sales per unit area of any single food store in the United States and was awarded by Ripley's Believe It or Not! as "World's Largest Dairy Store."
Stew, his wife Kim, and their four daughters have been nationally recognized for their support of children's water safety through their own foundation. They have authored two children's books that have sold over 100,000 copies and, since 1990, have raised over $3 million to fund swim lessons and lifeguard training.
Stew graduated from Ithaca College, earned his MBA from UCLA in 1982, and holds advanced wine degrees. He lives in Westport, Connecticut with his family.