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Marcus Jundt named sole CEO of Kona Grill

Steve Schussler, who had been co-CEO, resigned to focus on his existing restaurants.
Photograph courtesy of Kona Grill

Kona Grill’s dual-CEO arrangement lasted less than two months.

Steve Schussler resigned as co-CEO, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based upscale casual-dining chain said Thursday. Marcus Jundt, who had been the other CEO, will assume full CEO responsibilities.

Schussler also resigned from his position on the company’s board of directors “to focus on his ongoing commitments to his existing restaurant concepts.”

Schussler develops concepts under his company, Schussler Creative.

Jundt and Schussler were named co-CEOs in November.

“I have enjoyed my years of service as a director of Kona Grill and enjoyed working with Marcus Jundt as co-CEO in helping revitalize the Kona Grill brand,” Schussler said in a statement, adding that as a founder of the company, Jundt is “committed to the company’s success.”

Jundt faces a tough challenge in his bid to revitalize Kona, which has struggled with a plunging stock price and weak sales.

Same-store sales fell 14.1% in the quarter ended Sept. 30. And the stock price, which as recently as 2015 was trading in the $20s per share, has been in the low single digits and closed at $1.30 per share on Thursday.

The company’s poor valuation led to a delisting notice from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange earlier this month. A delisting can be devastating for a company’s valuation because it forces a company to trade “over the counter,” meaning it can only be traded through a dealer network.

Such stocks don’t get the attention of traditional public companies.

This is the company's third CEO change since August, when Jim Kuhn was named CEO to replace Berke Bakay.

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