Warren Kanders Career:
Warren graduated from Brown University with a BA in Economics and studied Art History, as well as taking courses at Rhode Island School of Design and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City. After planning to pursue a career in architecture, Warren instead began his career in Mergers & Acquisitions at Morgan Stanley. He went on to work for the Orion Royal Bank (a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada), and then went on to manage the US investments of Canadian business magnate Jim Pattison. Warren then partnered with fellow investor Martin Franklin to create Benson Eyecare, which started as a small retail optical chain and grew to be diversified, vertically integrated eyewear company, including the Foster Grant and Bolle brands. In 1996, Kanders and Franklin sold various components of Benson to a number of strategic buyers, including the French optical manufacturer Essilor.
Following his success with Benson, Warren founded Armor Holdings, where he was Executive Chairman and ultimately became the company’s CEO. In 1999, under Warren’s leadership, Armor Holdings purchased Safariland, the premier maker of equipment for the law enforcement industry. Armor Holdings began as a $10MM revenue manufacturer of body armor and grew to be a diversified producer of protective equipment and vehicles for the defense and law enforcement industries. In 2007, BAE plc acquired Armor Holdings for approximately $4.5B.
Warren acquired Gregory Mountain Products in 2008 and Black Diamond in 2010, forming what is now Clarus Corporation. Clarus became a diversified business focused on the active lifestyle and outdoor industry, and Warren is currently Executive Chairman.
In 2012, Warren reacquired the law enforcement product business from BAE plc, which had become known as the Safariland Group. Since that time, Safariland has grown its portfolio with over 10 acquisitions, including Med-Eng, the worldwide leader in protective equipment for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians. Safariland continues to design and manufacture protective gear for first responders, and has saved the lives of over 2,000 officers who were shot or injured in the line of duty.
In addition to his leadership roles with Safariland and Clarus Corporation, Warren is the President of Kanders & Company, a private investment firm which invests in a wide range of private and publicly held entities.