The Mediterranean fast-casual chain Luna Grill has promoted Taco Bell veteran Rich Pinnella to president, with responsibility for all day-to-day operations.
Pinnella, formerly chief brand officer (CBO) for the 50-unit brand, assumes the duties formerly shouldered by founder Sean Pourteymour, who retains the title of CEO. Pourteymour’s focus is shifting to long-term expansion, the company said in announcing the change.
Pinella joined Luna last summer as CBO. Earlier, he spent 20 years in the Taco Bell system, including seven as a VP and general manager.
"We knew it was time to start looking for someone to take over, but we also knew it had to be someone with the right approach, leadership style and match with the Luna Grill brand and culture,” Pourteymour said in a statement. “Rich has been nothing but impressive from the first day, and recent volatilities and the need to innovate have further showcased his leadership ability across our entire organization.”
The promotion is part of an effort by Luna to develop a management infrastructure that will support future growth. The brand also recently hired a CFO, Bob Bartlett, as well as a culinary VP, Michelle Goncalves.
Luna’s branches are concentrated in southern California and the Dallas metroplex. The chain generated systemwide sales last year of $65.7 million, according to Technomic.
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