John Lilly


Mr. Lilly has been President of John Lilly Strategic Insights, LLC (JLSI) since he led the sale of The Pillsbury Company to General Mills in 2002. His firm provides advisory services to Private Equity funds, Investment Banks and individual companies. His primary focus is on consumer-driven industries, including branded and non-branded products and services; in the US, Europe and Israel. Mr. Lilly is also an active investor in Early-Stage companies through his investment company, Lateral Capital Management, LLC. Investments in more than 50 companies span a wide range of industries, including air pressure management for truck tires, fund raising software for colleges, debit cards for transit systems and LED lighting for agriculture. Investments are sourced directly and through seven angel/accelerator groups across the US.

Mr. Lilly has an extensive background in consumer products management, having built more than 50 branded businesses in 25 countries over 27 years as an executive at Procter & Gamble and then as the CEO of The Pillsbury Company. John began his career at P&G in 1976 and was responsible at one time or another for almost all of Procter’s laundry, paper, food and beverage brands. This culminated in a six year assignment as Regional Vice President in Frankfurt, Germany, where John had managerial scope for the paper and beverage businesses in P&G’s Europe, Middle East and Africa Division. His experience base includes responsibility for Pampers®, Pringles®, Punica®, Cheer®, Always®, Folgers®, Gain®, Duncan Hines®, Sunny Delight®, Ivory Liquid®, Olestra®, Attends® and Dawn®.

In 1997, Mr. Lilly left P&G to join The Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis, first as President of Pillsbury North America and then as CEO for The Pillsbury Company worldwide. At that time, Pillsbury was a $6.8B manufacturer and marketer of such brands as Pillsbury®, Green Giant®, Haagen-Dazs®, Totino’s®, Old El Paso® and Progresso®. Pillsbury had leading retail and foodservice businesses in 25 countries including China, India and Argentina. The company was sold to General Mills in 2002 for $10.5B (12.2X EBITDA) in what is broadly seen as a highly successful food Industry consolidation transaction.

After Pillsbury became part of General Mills, Mr. Lilly changed careers to work full time as an investor/advisor. Through his consultancy, he has provided investment sourcing, due diligence and operating counsel to Calera Capital, TPG Capital, TPG Growth, Goldman Sachs PIA, Centerbridge Partners and EGI, the fund of Sam Zell. As a FINRA registered representative, he has worked with Compass Advisers, Lehman Brothers, Duff & Phelps and Morgan Joseph TriArtisan. JLSI also provides strategic planning services to small and large companies using the Five Questions│One Page® Success Planning process.

Mr. Lilly has significant public and private Board experience. He was on the Board of NASDAQ-listed Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, a manufacturer of OTC/Rx respiratory therapies; sold in 2008 to Reckitt Benckiser. He was a nominee of InBev NV/SA as an independent director of Anheuser-Busch; in conjunction with InBev’s successful acquisition of AB. He was a Director of NYSE-listed Terra Industries, a producer of nitrogen fertilizer; sold to CF Industries. He is currently a Director of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, owners of Rock Bottom Breweries, Gordon Biersch and Old Chicago Pizza. He is a Trustee of Sarah Lawrence College and New College, the Honor’s College of the State of Florida. 

John is married to Katherine Moore-Lilly, a Chemical Engineer with a 20-year career in product development at Procter & Gamble. They split their residence between Longboat Key and Vail.

Click here to download a PDF of John Lilly's Professional Biography.