P.F. Chang’s CEO Damola Adamolekun is stepping down after more than four years to return to the chain’s private-equity owner.
He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by board member Rohit Manocha while P.F. Chang’s searches for a permanent replacement.
Adamolekun will return to Paulson & Co., the PE firm that took an ownership stake in P.F. Chang’s in 2019 and installed him as CEO, to focus on investments. The transition is effective Tuesday.
His tenure as CEO proved impactful. After guiding the 223-unit chain through the pandemic, he oversaw a refresh of its restaurants, menu and tech stack; a growing off-premise business; and the opening of 10 new restaurants, including a Manhattan flagship.
Chang’s also pursued some innovative strategies, such as using its own delivery drivers and offering a monthly subscription program.
Its total sales rose nearly 13% from 2019 to 2022, and AUVs increased by more than 11%, according to Technomic data.
"I'm immensely proud of all that we've accomplished to elevate the customer experience, to build-out the company's technology infrastructure to enable a robust takeout and delivery business, and to expand our international footprint," Adamolekun said in a statement. "It's been an honor to lead P.F. Chang's, and I wholeheartedly believe the strong team we have in place will continue to drive success in the future."
Manocha has been on the chain’s board since 2019, when his firm, TriArtisan Capital Advisors, joined Paulson & Co. in investing in the company. He is also chairman of TGI Fridays, another TriArtisan holding.
"The P.F. Chang's brand and restaurant network are in a great position, and I look forward to working closely with our talented team to build on our momentum, drive increased traffic and transition the Company to its next world class leader,” he said in a statement. “Most importantly, we will continue to make our customers' lives better through iconic, authentic food and joyful hospitality."
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