SAN FRANCISCO — Richard Lenny, former chairman and chief executive officer of The Hershey Co., has joined San Francisco-based private equity firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe as an operating partner. In his new role, he will help identify and evaluate new investment opportunities in the consumer products sector, as well as provide guidance to portfolio companies.

In addition to his role at Hershey, Mr. Lenny earlier held several senior positions in the grain-based foods industry, including president of Nabisco Biscuit Co., president of Pillsbury North America, as well as a number of senior marketing and sales positions at Kraft Foods during his 18-year tenure there.

He currently is on the board of directors of McDonald’s Corp., Discover Financial Services and ConAgra Foods, Inc. He earlier was on the board of directors of Sunoco, Inc. and he was previously chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Friedman Fleischer & Lowe focuses on investments in middle market companies and has approximately $2.5 billion under management. Church’s Chicken is among the company’s portfolio companies.