Name: Christopher Jones
New title: CFO, BurgerFi International
Previous title: CFO, Odyssey Marine Exploration
Jones, who will start with the company on July 10, is replacing BurgerFi CFO Mike Rabinovitch, BurgerFi said Tuesday in a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. Rabinovitch will join Lionheart Capital as a senior advisor. Lionheart, alongside its founder and BurgerFi executive chairman Ophir Sternberg, is BurgerFi’s largest shareholder. Rabinovitch, who has been at the company since 2021, will remain in his role until Jones joins, and will help Jones with the transition until July 31 or earlier if agreed upon by the company and Rabinovitch.
Jones has much financing experience on Wall Street. For 17 years, he specialized in equity research and served as an analyst at companies including The Buckingham Group, Jefferies Asset Management, Lehman Brothers and Oppenheimer & Co.
Most recently, Jones served as CFO at Odyssey Marine Exploration for two years, where he helped lead the company’s shift from a deep water wreck exploration and recovery company to an undersea mineral exploration company. In this position, he also “restructured [the company’s] capital, developed and implemented new rigorous controls and protocols within the financing and accounting team,” BurgerFi said in the press release. Prior to that role, he was VP of corporate finance and development for Mohegan, a tribal gaming and resort operator.
“Chris has earned extensive equity analyst experience for both investors and companies from his years of working on Wall Street,” Sternberg said in a statement. “This sensitivity to shareholder needs balanced with his corporate finance experience will be particularly valuable as we work toward our next phase of growth in capital markets.”
Jones’ experience could help BurgerFi as it struggles with same-store sales declines. Last quarter, the brand’s same-store sales were down 4% and systemwide sales fell 1%. Jones also joins the company at the same time as Carl Bachmann, who will begin his role as CEO on July 10. Bachmann previously served as Smashburger president and succeeds Ian Baines, who retired June 7.