Former Disney exec steps down as operating partner at CD&R as eleventh fundraise gets under way 

Paul Pressler

Paul Pressler, the former president and CEO of clothing retailer Gap Inc, and before that an executive at The Walt Disney Company, has stepped down as a full-time operating partner at buyout shop Clayton, Dubilier & Rice to become an operating advisor.

Pressler is one of at least two CD&R executives to leave their posts since the beginning of the year–a time when the highly-regarded firm has been reportedly gearing up to raise an an eleventh flagship fund.

Christian Storch stepped down as a managing director on the London-based industrials team after more than eight years with the firm; in the CD&R hierarchy managing director sits one step below partner. Pressler declined to comment for this article and PECN was unable to reach Storch for comment.

Pressler joined CD&R in the summer of 2009, and had a hand in the strong returns generated by the firm’s 2009-vintage Fund VIII. He was lead operating partner on the 2010 acquisition of disposable medical products maker AssuraMed and the 2013 acquisition of SiteOne Landscape Supply. As an operating advisor no longer employed directly by CD&R he continues to serve on the boards of materials makerWilsonart and Seattle- based pizza chain MOD.

Pressler served as president and CEO of Gap Inc from 2002 to 2007. Before that he spent 15 years rising through the ranks of The Walt Disney Company, becoming chairman of the theme parks and resorts division before getting recruited for the Gap post.

We have no evidence that the timing of departures by Pressler or Storch is related to the fundraise. Senior turnover does sometimes take place at firms as they transition from one fund to another–in part to avoid upsetting LPs who dislike seeing executives leave mid-stream.

Founded in 1978, CD&R pioneered an investment model that granted operating partners equal status with deal partners. The firm has been steadily building its team over the last decade, and at press-time its Web site listed 89 employees, including 28 partners. The firm closed its tenth fund at $10 billion in early 2017.

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