Papa Johns and Golden Corral name new executives

Executive Summary: A roundup of high-level hirings and promotions in the restaurant business includes changes for Smalls Sliders.
Dawn Gillis and Ravi Thanawala
Dawn Gillis and Ravi Thanawala. / Photos courtesy of Golden Corral and Papa Johns.

Executive Summary

Last week, Papa Johns appointed Ravi Thanawala its chief financial officer. Thanawala brings financial leadership experience to the role. Most recently, he served as CFO of Nike North America. During his seven years at Nike, he also held the roles of global VP and CFO of the Converse brand and global VP of retail excellence. Thanawala also held finance and operations positions during his eight years at ANN INC.

Chris Collins has served as the interim principal financial and accounting officer since March and now will resume his job as VP of tax and treasury.

“Ravi is a multi-faceted leader who brings a combination of strategic financial leadership experience, operational acumen and international expertise. Ravi’s proven track record of leading companies with diversified business models and robust e-commerce platforms will be key to enabling our continued growth through both our corporate-owned and franchisee-led restaurants,” said Rob Lynch, CEO of Papa Johns, in a statement.

This week, Golden Corral named Dawn Gillis chief information officer. Gillis brings more than 20 years of industry experience to the role. Prior to joining Golden Corral, Gillis held the role of chief technology officer for Tavistock Freebirds, LLC. She also served as chief technology officer for Torchy’s Tacos and held multiple senior level roles throughout her 15-year career at 7-Eleven. As chief information officer, Gillis will lead Golden Coral’s digital growth strategy and modernize its technology, according to a statement.

“We are excited to welcome Dawn to the Golden Corral family and believe her depth of technological knowledge and outstanding leadership experience makes her the right person to help us continue to evolve as a brand while growing to meet our guests' and franchisees' needs," said Lance Trenary, Golden Corral’s CEO, in a statement.

A cheeseburger slider concept, Smalls Sliders, also appointed a new executive this week. The chain named Michael Alberici senior vice president and head of marketing. In his new roles, Alberici will oversee the company’s brand strategy, menu development, marketing and guest experience. Prior to joining Small Sliders, Alberici held leadership roles for brand including Cinnabon, Darden Restaurants and Universal Destinations & Experiences.

 “Michael is a fantastic addition to the team and will be a key partner in bringing our vision for Smalls to life by positioning the brand in a way that attracts consumers across generations–TikTok-able, clever, unassuming and a little bit in your face. I’m looking forward to our work and seeing all that we’ll accomplish together,” said Maria Rivera, CEO of Smalls Sliders, in a statement.  

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