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Focus Brands and Fat Brands add new executives

Executive Summary: A roundup of high-level hirings and promotions in the restaurant business includes changes for Noodles & Company and Polly’s Pies.
 Nathan Louer and Dave Mikita.
Nathan Louer and Dave Mikita. / Photos courtesy of Focus Brands.

Executive Summary

Focus Brands has a new head of international. Focus Brands, the operator of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon  Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s, named two new executives this week. Dave Mikita was named head of international and retail channels. The former president of global channels will now oversee the operator’s international franchise business. The Atlanta-based company also named Nathan Louer the new chief brand officer of Jamba. He comes to the juice and smoothie chain from Jimmy John’s, where he was VP of brand marketing and activation.

Fat Brands adds several new executives. Fat Brands, the owner of several mostly fast-food chains, promoted Jenn Johnston to chief marketing officer. Johnston had overseen the company’s Quick-Service Division. The Los Angeles-based company also named Allison Lauenstein brand president of Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery and Pretzelmaker. Lauenstein had been EVP of brand operations and marketing at Global Franchise Group. David Pear, meanwhile, was named brand president at Round Table Pizza. Pear had been VP of strategic initiatives at Desert De Oro Foods.

Noodles & Co. CFO Carl Lukach is stepping down on June 9 to accept a similar role at an unnamed retail company, which will allow him to be closer to his family. The Broomfield, Colo.-based chain’s CEO Dave Boennighausen will serve as interim CFO as the company searches for Lukach’s replacement.

Eric Stenta has been promoted to CEO and president of Polly’s Pies, the 13-unit regional family dining chain. He succeeds James Kaa, whom the brand said was stepping down for a lifestyle change. Kaa will continue to be involved with the chain as a parttime VP of finance. Stenta was previously chief concept officer.

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