Panera Bread Co. announced that it has named Drew Madsen, a former president and COO of Darden Restaurants, as president, effective today.
In announcing the hire, Panera highlighted Madsen’s capacity for spearheading growth, noting that during his nine-year run as president and COO of Darden, the casual-dining company grew its number of restaurants by 61 percent and sales by 81 percent.
From 2002 to 2004, Madsen also served as president of Darden’s Olive Garden chain and as Olive Garden’s executive vice president of marketing prior to that.
In the same announcement, Panera shared that it also hired former McDonald’s executive Ken Koziol as executive vice president.
"We are excited to welcome Drew and Ken to Panera, rounding out the strongest senior leadership team we’ve ever had,” Panera Chairman and CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement. “This is a pivotal time for Panera as we continue to make progress on initiatives to make Panera a better competitive alternative with expanded growth opportunities.”