Kevin Cleary

Managing Partner and Founder

Kevin founded Fort Dearborn Partners in 1990.  He has extensive experience in delivering strategic planning and profit improvement services to growth and financially troubled companies.  Kevin has served as lead partner in over 250 successful turnarounds, and over 50 growth companies in a variety of industries.  Kevin has worked on many undercapitalized companies and excels in formulating strategies and tactics to improve profitability and cash flow.

In his 40 years of work experience, Kevin’s areas of focus have been in distribution, manufacturing, consumer goods and food industries, healthcare as well as printing, automotive, retail, transportation, construction, banking, real estate and business services.  Kevin has served as interim Chief Executive Officer in distribution companies and as Chief Restructuring Officer for manufacturing and printing companies.

In his career, Kevin has served as lead financial advisor in over eighty successful divestiture or acquisition transactions including more than seventy-five sell side transactions. Many of the sell side transactions were distressed sales, and Kevin has advised his clients through bankruptcy and 363 sales, UCC Article 9 sales, and sales under assignments for the benefit of creditors. Kevin has assisted clients in raising debt and equity capital in connection with representing buyers including management buyouts, and had also assisted many clients in refinancing and restructuring their senior debt facilities.

Prior to establishing the firm, Kevin was Partner-In-Charge of the business and financial consulting practice, including the health care practice, in the Chicago office of Grant Thornton, a prominent public accounting and management consulting firm focused on middle market companies.  Under his leadership, the consulting practice grew fourfold over a six-year period. 

Kevin serves on the Board of Directors of KeHE Distributors and Fabry Industries.  He is Chairman of KeHE’s Audit Committee.  Kevin previously served on the Boards of Clark Products and Foodservice, Eby-Brown Company, Salerno Foods, Orsini Healthcare, and Continental DataLabel.  

Kevin was selected as the 2013 outstanding alumnus by the Accounting Department of Northern Illinois University for his professional achievements.  Kevin was awarded the 2002 outstanding alumnus from St. Joseph High School for his civic contributions and professional accomplishments.  Kevin has also received several industry awards from the Turnaround Management Association and the M&A Advisory Group.

Contact Information

Direct: (312) 683-3642

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  • Financial Advisory Services
  • Value Creation & Turnaround Consulting
  • Investment Banking
  • Valuation

Industry Experience

  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Food Industries
  • Printing
  • Healthcare
  • Construction
  • Transportation


  • University of Chicago, Booth Graduate School of Business - MBA, Finance and Marketing  
  • Northern Illinois University - BS, Accounting 

Certifications and Memberships

  • CPA
  • Member, Turnaround Management Association 
  • Member, AICPA 
  • Member, Illinois CPA Society


  • Catholic Charities - Chairman, Audit Committee; Member, Board of Directors; Member, Executive Committee
  • Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago - Member, Audit Committee
  • Northern Illinois University - Member, Board of Advisors 




Marketing Director

Direct: (312) 683-3746

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FDP News

Oct - 23

Max Bechtel and Austin Curtis join Fort Dearborn Partners

Please join us in welcoming the newest members of the Fort Dearborn Team, Max Bechtel and Austin Curtis.

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Apr - 23

Fort Dearborn advises Reliable Knitting Works

Fort Dearborn Partners served as the exclusive financial advisor for the refinancing of Reliable Knitting Works, a $125 Million Wisconsin-based Company.

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