Blackford Operating Partner
Steve is an internationally experienced CEO who has led an IPO on the HK Stock Exchange and works with western brands and retailers to professionalize their buying and sourcing operations in Asia.
History & Education
Steve has over 30 years international experience in sourcing, manufacturing and retailing, the majority based in Hong Kong & Shanghai.
He is British, born and educated in England at Rugby School, and then University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology where he got an honors degree in Management Sciences.
Steve started his career as a management trainee at Marks & Spencer, where he stayed for 18 years as a buying manager in London, Paris and finally Hong Kong in 1996 to set up direct Asian sourcing.
At the end of 3 years in Hong Kong, preferring not to move back to London, he was headhunted to run global sourcing, manufacturing and retailing for Warnaco Inc. As SVP he oversaw US$600m production of Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear, Chaps Ralph Lauren, Speedo and Penhaligon’s, as well as managing all 11 Warnaco factories in 6 countries.
From 2001 to 2006 Steve became CEO of Linmark Group (HK), which he grew into the second largest buying agency in Asia and led a successful IPO on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2002. He managed 1000+ staff across 37 buying offices, spanning 18 different countries across Asia, with hubs in Bangladesh and Shanghai.
In 2006 Steve left corporate life and established 55 Consulting in Hong Kong and Shanghai to provide a reliable platform for retailers and brands to professionalize their Asian sourcing. 55 Consulting provides consumer goods sourcing consultancy for optimizing existing buying offices or setting up turnkey operations.
In mid 2020 Steve was invited to join U.S. private equity group Blackford Capital as an operating partner, injecting his Asian sourcing platform into the wide range of their portfolio companies. In these increasingly uncertain times placing a premium on knowing your suppliers and being able to guarantee quality, delivery and service is what Steve likes to call “Sourcing as a Strategic Weapon”.
Retailers: Ralph Lauren (USA), Apparel Group (Australia), Country Road (Australia), Edgars Consolidated Stores (South Africa’s biggest)
Manufacturers: Leverstyle, Item Industries
Private Equity: 3i, Pacific Alliance Group
Professional Interests & Activities
Steve has a keen interest in supplier social compliance, (balancing the demands of western retailers with the reality of working in Asia) and corporate governance. He guest lectures on this subject at Beijing University (International Law Faculty).
He is an active member of Y.P.O. (Young Presidents Organization, a global group of 30,000 CEOs) Hong Kong chapter which provides his on-going educational and personal development program, as well as his own management advisory board. He has been a non-executive director of multiple private and publicly listed companies in HK and London.
Steve has recently published “Made in China – The 6 Keystones to Sourcing Success” which provides a roadmap for those wishing to start or optimise their approach to business in the country which is dominating global trade in the current century, providing one can navigate the many challenges involved. More details can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/author/stevefeniger
Steve has a wife, twin 8 year old daughters, and enjoys painting in acrylics (he painted the cover of his book).