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Sears’ new board member brings timely expertise

BY Marianne Wilson

Sears Holdings Corp. has named a board member whose experience may come in handy in the near future.

The struggling retailer announced that Alan J. Carr, managing member and CEO of restructuring advisory firm Drivetrain, has joined its board. Carr has significant experience as a principal, investor and advisor leading complex financial restructurings, as well as serving as a director of reorganized businesses in the U.S. and Europe.

“Alan brings deep experience as a director for companies that went through complex organizational change,” stated Sears CEO Eddie Lampert. “We are pleased to welcome him to the board and look forward to the benefit of his expertise as we work to maximize value for the company and its stakeholders.”

The appointment comes as Sears approaches a key debt payment, and as a special committee to the board is evaluating a proposal from Lampert’s ESL Investments hedge fund that would essentially translate into a wholesale financial restructuring of the company but without a Chapter 11 filing.

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Starbucks taps former Hyatt, Yum! Brands exec as CFO

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Corp. has named a 25-years-plus financial executive to its C-suite.

The coffee giant appointed Patrick Grismer executive VP and CFO.

He succeeds Scott Maw, who will retire on Nov. 30, but remain a senior consultant through March 2019 to ensure a smooth transition. Grismer will join Starbucks on Nov. 12, and assume the CFO role on Nov. 30.

Grismer joins Starbucks from his current position as CFO of Hyatt, which he has held since joining the company in March 2016. Prior to Hyatt, Grismer spent 14 years at Yum! Brands, during which he held a variety of leadership positions at Yum! Brands through14 years, including CFO.

Before Yum! Brands, Grismer served in a number of finance and strategy positions at The Walt Disney Company, including VP of business planning and development for The Disneyland Resort. Grismer began his career as a management consultant with Price Waterhouse.

“As a seasoned CFO of multiple global, consumer-facing growth companies, Pat brings tremendous finance expertise, a customer-centric mindset and a wealth of restaurant industry experience to Starbucks,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO. “Pat will be a fantastic addition to the team, and I look forward to partnering with him as we continue to execute against our strategic priorities and drive strong financial performance.”

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Fast-growing, fast-casual restaurant brand names COO

BY Marianne Wilson

Mod Super Fast Pizza Holdings, which will open about 100 locations this year, has tapped an experienced executive to help oversee its aggressive growth.

Mod announced the appointment of John Maguire as COO, effective October 22, 2018. He will lead the company’s store operations across its more than 380 locations, with a strong focus on all phases of expansion and growth. Maguire will report directly to Paul Twohig, Mod’s president. (Twohig was previously president and COO). Twohig will continue to lead store development (domestic and international real estate, design and construction), culinary, supply chain, and international and franchise operations.

Maguire was previously president and CEO of FIC Restaurants Inc. (Friendly’s restaurants), a position he held since 2012. In 2016, he subsequently took on the role of president and CEO of Johnny Rockets Group in addition to his position with FIC. Across both private-equity-owned companies, Maguire led global operations, franchising and store development for a combined 625 locations.

Prior to his time with Friendly’s and Johnny Rockets, Maguire spent 20 years at Panera Bread, in numerous retail operations roles, the last six of which were spent as executive VP and COO.

“As a leader at Panera during their formative years of growth combined with his experience leading two loved brands, John brings the perfect mix of deep operating expertise combined with experience sustaining the culture required to build an iconic brand,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of Mod “Most importantly, though, John lives the values and beliefs at the heart of MOD. The thing which most attracted him was our commitment to using our business as a platform to make a positive impact on our people and the communities we serve.”

Mod, a 2017 winner of Chain Store Age’s Breakout Retailers Awards, was founded in 2008 with a “people-first” mission. It is well known for its support of local non-profits and also for its employee-centric culture. In addition to above industry-average pay and benefits, and hiring people with special needs, Mod maintains an emergency fund that provides financial assistance to employees in times of expected need.

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