John Hardy Sold; American Eagle Vet Now CEO

Designer brand John Hardy has been purchased by private equity firm Catterton Partners in a deal that appoints the former head of American Eagle as new CEO.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Robert Hanson, the former CEO of American Eagle and global president of Levi’s, will take over as CEO. Damien Dernoncourt, who has served as John Hardy’s CEO since 2007, will retain an equity stake in the company and has been named nonexecutive chairman—which the company, unusually, terms a full-time position.

An interview with Hanson will run tomorrow on JCKonline.

Guy Bedarida will continue to serve as creative director and head designer, and Miles Graham will continue to serve as president and chief operating officer, the company said.

Greenwich, Conn.–based Catterton specializes in small- to middle-market consumer companies. John Hardy is its first full-fledged jewelry brand, though it does have a stake in crystal maker Baccarat, which produces jewelry. Other investments include everything from Build-A-Bear Workshop to Naya Waters to Outback Steakhouse.

The brand had been reportedly up for sale since last December, and interested parties included Catterton and TSG Consumer Partners, with the latter reportedly making a bid for the brand.

Former art student Hardy founded the company in 1975, with wife Cynthia. They sold it in 2007 in a management buyout backed by Asian private equity firm 3i Group. (At the time, Dernoncourt told JCK the company “didn’t want to become part of a brand portfolio.”)

“Our involvement has allowed John Hardy to continue its transition from a family-run business to a professionally managed company,” 3i said on its site. 

We “look forward to working with Robert and the entire team at John Hardy to capitalize on new market opportunities and to realize the company’s significant potential,” said Catterton managing partner Michael Chu in a statement. 

JCK News Director