SymphonyIRI Group has announced a new board of directors that includes former executives from Ahold, Kroger and Walmart.

SymphonyIRI Group, Ahold, Kroger, Walmart, New Mountain Capital, Lawrence Benjamin, Don McGeorge, Lawrence Jackson, Dollar General, Safeway, Romesh Wadhwani, John Freeland, Jeffrey Ansell, Steven Klinsky, Mathew Lori, Raj Gupta, Matt Ebbel, market research firm, consumer packaged goods, retail, health care

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Former retail execs join new SymphonyIRI board

January 20th, 2012

CHICAGO – SymphonyIRI Group has announced a new board of directors that includes former executives from Ahold, Kroger and Walmart.

The market research firm, which specializes in the consumer packaged goods, retail and health care sectors, said Thursday that former Lawrence Benjamin has been named chairman of the board.

Benjamin, currently a senior adviser at New Mountain Capital, the majority shareholder of SymphonyIRI, has more than 25 years of experience leading food companies in the retail, consumer packaged goods and foodservice industries. Most recently, he held several executive positions at Royal Ahold, including chief executive officer of U.S. Foodservice, chief operating officer of Ahold's U.S. retail businesses, executive vice president of Royal Ahold and a member of the company's global board.

Before that, he was the CEO of The NutraSweet Company, Specialty Foods, and Stella Foods and president of the frozen meals division of Kraft.

Other retail veterans named to the SymphonyIRI board were Don McGeorge, the retired president and chief operating officer of Kroger Co., and New Mountain Capital senior adviser Lawrence Jackson, whose 30-plus years of experience in the consumer products and retail sectors includes serving as president and CEO of global procurement at Walmart, president and COO of Dollar General and executive positions at Safeway and PepsiCo.

Also serving on the board are previous SymphonyIRI chairman Romesh Wadhwani, the founder, chairman and CEO of Symphony Technology Group; SymphonyIRI president and CEO John Freeland; Jeffrey Ansell, president and CEO of Sun Products Corp., who previously was CEO of Pinnacle Foods and spent 25 years at Procter & Gamble; Steven Klinsky, managing director, founder and CEO of New Mountain Capital; Mathew Lori, managing director at New Mountain Capital; Raj Gupta, senior adviser at New Mountain Capital; and Matt Ebbel, director at New Mountain Capital.

"This new board brings unparalleled experience and expertise in the consumer packaged goods, retail and technology industries," Freeland said in a statement. "They offer a depth of understanding and rich knowledge about our industry, our clients and our technology that will significantly accelerate our innovation and growth initiatives."

New Mountain Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, became the majority shareholder of SymphonyIRI Group in June.