After a long career both as a Joint Venture Partner and as a senior executive of McDonald’s Corporation, Mats Lederhausen formed his own company in early 2007. The company is focused on building businesses with a “purpose bigger than their products.” This philosophy is based on both ancient philosophy as well observations and experience from companies that were propelled by a strong purpose. Brands that have a strong conviction around why they exist and who they exist to serve will end up attracting better employees and more loyal customers and therefore ultimately be more successful.
BECAUSE will also do selective consulting projects for companies in the areas of CSR, Corporate Reputation, Innovation and Strategy. But the primary focus is on providing intellectual and financial capital to companies that want to scale an already proven business model.
Prior to forming BE-CAUSE, Mats served as Managing Director of McDonald’s Ventures. McDonald’s Ventures managed the investments McDonald’s held in future oriented growth initiatives including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Boston Market, RedBox DVD and Pret A Manger. As a director, Chairman and finally lead director of Chipotle from 2000-2006 Mats helped shape the strategy that ultimately led to one of the most successful restaurant IPOs of all times. Mats was on the founding team of RedBox and served on its board until Coinstar acquired McDonald’s stake in RedBox in the spring of 2009.
Mats joined McDonald’s Corporation in 1999 as head of global strategy. During the next 4 years he had the responsibility for global strategy and business development. As President of Business Development Mats later assumed responsibility for worldwide menu, worldwide real estate and restaurant R&D. During these years Mats played a key role in shaping the agenda that later has helped McDonald’s complete one of the most successful corporate turnarounds in recent history.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Mats began his career with McDonald’s in 1979 as a part time crew member in Sweden. In 1983, he participated in the McDonald’s Management Development Program and worked as a store manager from 1984 to 1985. Lederhausen worked for The Boston Consulting Group in London from 1988 to 1990. In 1990, he returned to McDonald’s and in 1993 became the Managing Director and Joint Venture Partner for McDonald’s Sweden. Under his leadership, the company grew from 40 restaurants to nearly 170 restaurants.
Mats was named one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ “40 under 40” to watch in 1999 and the World Economic Forum honored him as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” in 2000. Mats is currently a special partner to Sterling Partners as well as CUE BALL. Mats serves as Chairman of the board of ROTI Mediterranean Grill and Educate Inc (Sylvan Learning). Mats also serves on the board of Itrim and Cue Ball. Mats serves as Chairman of the board for the not-for-profit Business for Social Responsibility and serves on the board of trustees of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Mats received a Master’s degree from Stockholm School of Economics in 1988. Mats lives in Chicago with his wife, Dr. Jessica Lederhausen and their 4 children.
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Chris Catalano has been a close partner to Mats since 2002. Chris formally joined BECAUSE as a partner in late 2008. Mats and Chris share a passion for aspiring brands with a purpose bigger than their product.
Chris is originally from the Philadelphia area and holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University and an MBA from Rider University.
During the early 1990s Chris held operating leadership roles at GE Plastics and Chemical Leaman Corporation. Chris later became a SVP of Corporate Development at GE Capital Corporation in their transportation equipment management and financing business. In that capacity, he led strategic planning and directed all investing activities, including strategic equity investments, new ventures and mergers and acquisitions. While at GE, Chris managed over $1 billion in transactions.
Chris moved to Chicago for divine interVentures, a private equity fund focused on early stage technology investments. As the tech sector retracted Chris founded his own Finance and Corporate Development Boutique Advisory firm and it was in that capacity he met with Mats and started doing important work on the McDonald’s revitalization plan. In 2003 Chris joined McDonald’s as VP and Chief Investment Officer of McDonald’s Ventures. During the next 5 years Chris was on the board of Pret A Manger and Donatos Pizzeria and was actively engaged in the oversight and subsequently successful IPO of Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). Chris also played a leading role in the oversight of Boston Market and led the McDonald’s path to exit in the transaction with Sun Capital. Chris was also the Chairman of RedBox Automated Retail during its rapid growth from a corporate venture unit to being fully acquired by Coinstar in the spring of 2009. Mats and Chris were part of the launch team of this exciting business.
Chris currently is Chairman and CEO of School of Rock.
Chris lives in Chicago with his wife Mary and their 3 children.