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Cosi ousts its CEO

cosi exterior

The struggling Cosi fast-casual chain said it has fired CEO and President RJ Dourney and accepted the resignation of CFO Miguel Rossy-Donovan.

The franchisor says Rossy-Donovan will continue in his post until he leaves on Sept. 23 to accept a position at another company, which was not identified. 

Patrick Bennett, a director of Cosi, has assumed the CEO’s duties on an interim basis. The company indicated that it plans on finding a successor to Dourney.

Dourney was hired for the job in 2014 after serving as a franchisee. His franchised stores in New England significantly outperformed the rest of the chain, prompting management to adopt many of the features that were unique to the branches. Dourney eventually sold the franchise, Hearthstone Associates, to the franchisor.

Cosi has been unable to shake a prolonged sales slowdown that began long before the industry’s current downturn. It went public in 2002—reportedly while still being in the red.

For the quarter ended June 27, the company posted a loss of $3.1 million on revenues of $22.8 million, down 7% from the year-ago period. The franchisor lost $3.9 million in the comparable 2015 quarter.

Cosi’s board had kind words to say about Rossy-Donovan. “We are saddened about his departure and wish him the best as he embarks on a different path,” Chairman Mark Demilio said in announcing the changes.

But the announcement did not gloss over the circumstances of Dourney’s departure, saying flatly that he had been terminated effective immediately.

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