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Leadership

Panera hires McDonald’s vet as COO

Debbie Roberts comes to the fast casual after three decades at the burger giant.
Debbie Roberts COO

Debbie Roberts, who spent three decades with McDonald’s, has been hired as Panera Bread’s chief operations officer, the fast-casual chain announced Tuesday.

Roberts will lead all of Panera’s operations and operations-support functions.

“We are thrilled to welcome Debbie to Panera and are looking forward to her bringing her strong record of cross-functional partnership, results-driven engagement, and especially, her focus on people as the core of operational excellence,” Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary said in a statement.

Roberts most recently served as East Zone President at McDonald’s, with oversight for 7,000 restaurants in 11 regions.

“Joining an iconic brand like Panera is incredibly exciting,” Roberts said in a statement. “I look forward to building on the team’s accomplishments and helping to simplify and innovate our operations as we navigate this unique time in our industry.”

In May, Panera added Eduardo Luz as chief brand and concept officer. Luz is a former Kraft Heinz executive.

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