This is the latest installment in a series that highlights major executive changes at top fast casual, QSR and casual dining chains over the past week.
After a lull in hiring across restaurant chains over the last few weeks, several major chains made big appointments, with McDonald's naming a chief restaurant officer, MOD Pizza and Potbelly bringing on new CFOs and Jack in the Box tapping a new chief executive. Find out more about this executive news below:
Jack in the Box: The QSR hired Darin Harris as CEO, according to a company release. He will succeed Lenny Comma, who served at the chain's chief for six years before suddenly announcing his departure five months ago. Harris formerly served as CEO of Cici's Pizza and SVP of Arby's Restaurant Group, and has over two decades of leadership experience. Current independent lead director David Goebel will serve as non-executive chairman of the board once Harris steps into the role, no later than June 15, 2020.
McDonald’s: The fast food chain promoted Mason Smoot to U.S. chief restaurant officer, according to Restaurant Business. He will replace Charlie Robeson, who will retire on May 1. Robeson has been at McDonald’s for 44 years. Smoot, who has been at the company for 26 years, previously served as chief of staff to the CEO and will report to Joe Erlinger, McDonalds' US president. Mark Ostermann has replaced Smoot at chief of staff.
Potbelly: Steven W. Cirulis has joined Potbelly’s C-suite as chief financial officer and chief strategy officer, according to a press release. He has been at Potbelly since December, serving in a strategic planning, finance and analytical consulting role and will now lead the company’s financial and strategy functions, including financial planning and analysis, accounting and financial reporting, tax, treasury, investor relations and enterprise procurement. Cirulis has over 20 years of experience in omnichannel businesses, including retail, restaurants, digital, CPG, hospitality and entertainment. He most recently served as SVP, strategic products, at Panera Bread. He has also served in roles at McDonald’s, Gap and Prophet.
MOD Pizza: John Guenser has been appointed chief financial officer at MOD Pizza and will oversee financial operations, fiscal responsibility, reporting and accounting for all of MOD’s 480-plus locations across North America, according to a press release. Guenser previously worked at Starbucks for over 10 years, most recently serving as SVP of finance, Americas.
Global Franchise Group: Paul Damico became the company’s CEO April 6, succeeding Chris Dull, who left the company in February, according to a press release. Interim CEO Jenn Johnston will resume her role as chief brand officer and president of franchise operations. Damico will oversee the company’s growth, acquisitions and shared services and champion the company’s “franchising first” philosophy. Damico has over 35 years of food and hospitality experience and has worked at Host Marriott, Food Brand, Creative Host Services and Focus Brands. He most recently served as CEO of Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill. Global Franchise Group is the brand management company and franchisor of Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Pretzelmaker, Marble Slab Creamery/MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream & Treatery and Round Table Pizza.