Molly Ashby started Solera Capital in 1999 after 16 years at J.P. Morgan & Co. (NYSE: JPM), where she had served as chief operating officer and chief investment strategist for J.P. Morgan Capital Corp., the bank’s private equity unit. While there, she gained recognition for organizing a $5.1 billion leveraged buyout of HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HCA), the healthcare services company.
One of Ashby’s most high-profile deals was Solera’s 2002 controlling-stake investment in Annie’s Inc. (NYSE: BNNY), foreseeing huge growth potential for the company’s natural and organic food lines by expanding its sales in mainstream grocery stores. Annie’s held one of the most successful initial public offerings of 2012 and was acquired in 2014 by General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS). Ashby served as chair of Annie’s from 2004 until the General Mills purchase. Today, the company sells its products in more than 35,000 stores.