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Janet Gurwitch Joins Castanea Partners

The Newton, Mass-based private equity firm's portfolio includes investments in brands such as Betsey Johnson, Donald J. Pliner and Urban Decay.

Janet Gurwitch has joined Castanea Partners as operating partner.

Gurwitch was the founder and chief executive officer of Laura Mercier Cosmetics. Gurwitch Products, the licensee of the Laura Mercier brand, was sold to Alticor Inc., the $6.4 billion personal products and water filtration company, in 2006. Gurwitch stepped down as ceo in 2008 and has run her own consulting business, Gurwitch Consulting Group.

Prior to founding Laura Mercier, Gurwitch was executive vice president of merchandising at Neiman Marcus Stores, where she oversaw the women’s business, including beauty, ready-to-wear and accessories.

Castanea Partners, a Newton, Mass-based private equity firm, invests between $15 million and $75 million of equity in companies within specifically targeted industry sectors. Its current portfolio includes Betsey Johnson, Donald J. Pliner, Ippolita, Urban Decay and Astor & Black. It is currently investing from its third fund, a $500 million unit that targets companies with enterprise values up to $250 million.

Brian Knez, managing partner of Castanea, said, “With [Gurwitch’s] extensive knowledge, network and experience, Janet will enhance our ability to add value in supporting our portfolio companies, and in identifying new investment opportunities.”

Gurwitch serves on the boards of Urban Decay Cosmetics and La-Z-Boy.