Martin Franklin joined the board of Alltrista Corp. in June 2001, became its chairman and CEO in late September and three weeks later sold off the bulk of the firm's struggling thermoforming business. That was the first step in the remaking of Alltrista – since renamed Jarden Corp. – into a fast-growing, diverse manufacturer of niche consumer products.
The 39-year-old, British-born deal maker has built a publicly traded firm that includes assets from Alltrista, Unimark Plastics, Ball, Yorker Closures, Diamond Brands, O.W.D. and Tilia, among others, and makes products ranging from twine and matches to plastic cutlery, appliance parts and medical disposables. Jarden today does injection molding, thermoforming and extrusion and for the first nine months of fiscal 2003 reported sales of nearly $400 million.
Ernst & Young this summer named Franklin a regional winner of its "entrepreneur of the year" award, and Forbes magazine just recognized the Rye, N.Y.-based Jarden as one of the 200 "best small companies in America" in its recent annual survey.
Franklin held the positions of chairman and CEO of Lumen Technologies Inc. (formerly BEC Group Inc.), from May 1996 to December 1998, and of its predecessor, Benson Eyecare Corp., from October 1992 to May 1996. He was executive chairman of Bolle Inc., a maker of premium sunglasses, ski goggles and safety eyewear, from July 1997 until its sale in February 2000. In addition, he has served as a director for several public companies, is the non-executive chairman of market research firm FindSVP Inc., and a principal and executive officer of a number of private investment entities.
He received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.