Our Team

Brian J. Knez

Brian J. Knez / Managing Partner


Brian J. Knez is a Founding Partner of Castanea Partners with over 20 years of senior executive management and operating experience in the branded consumer products, retail, professional publishing, and education sectors.

Formerly, Brian was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. where he was also co-CEO from 1999 to 2001 and was a member of the Board of Directors from1998 until the sale of the company in 2005. Prior to co-founding Castanea Partners in 2001, Brian was co-CEO of Harcourt General from 1999 until its sale in 2001 and was a director of the company from 1995 to 2001. At Harcourt, Brian held a number of additional management roles, including President and co-Chief Operating Officer and President and CEO of Harcourt, Inc., the publishing subsidiary of Harcourt General. Before joining General Cinema Corporation (predecessor to Harcourt General) in 1986 as Assistant to the President of General Cinema Beverages, Brian was an associate at the law firm of Choate, Hall and Stewart where he specialized in corporate law.

Brian received a J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School, where he was editor of Law Review, and a B.S. with highest distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Arizona.

Brian currently serves as a director and a member of the executive committee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, and is a director and Treasurer of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

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Portfolio Companies

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Press Releases

  • Tom First Joins Castanea Partners as an Operating Partner

    SEPT 2016 - Castanea Partners announced today that Tom First has joined the firm as an Operating Partner focusing on opportunities in the branded food and beverage sector.

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Media Coverage

  • Meet Houston's Reigning Beauty Business Queen

    JUN 2015 - Janet Gurwitch is the founder and former CEO of Houston-based Laura Mercier Cosmetics.

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  • Janet Gurwitch speaks at 2014 Texas ACG Capital Connection

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