ATLANTA, GA – February 20, 2020 – FOCUS Brands (the “Company”), parent company of Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, Schlotzsky’s®, and Seattle’s Best Coffee® (in certain military bases and in certain international markets), today announced that Jim Holthouser will join the Company as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Jim succeeds Steve DeSutter, who is retiring after serving as the Company’s CEO for nearly six years.
Mr. Holthouser brings more than 30 years of experience in worldwide brand development, concept innovation, franchise management, and digital marketing. He most recently served as Executive Vice President, Global Brands, Marketing and Loyalty at Hilton Worldwide, where he was responsible for Hilton’s entire portfolio of 13 brands with over 5,000 hotels across 105 countries, generating annual revenues of $36 billion. Jim spent more than 20 years at Hilton in various strategic and brand management roles and has a proven track record of spearheading the launch, development, and repositioning of leading consumer brands.
“FOCUS Brands is an outstanding company, recognized globally for its iconic brands, and I am pleased to take on this role at such an exciting time in the Company’s history,” said Mr. Holthouser. “I look forward to working with the FOCUS Brands team, franchisees, and suppliers to continue growing our leading foodservices concepts, enhancing our customers’ experience and delivering value to all of our partners.”
“Jim is a results-oriented leader with a demonstrated history of partnering with team members and franchisees to drive results,” said Steve Romaniello, FOCUS Brands Board Chairman. “His track record of managing multi-branded portfolios and growing brands is impressive and gives us great confidence that he is ideally suited to lead FOCUS Brands in its next phase of growth. We thank Steve for his leadership and service over the past six years and look forward to welcoming Jim to the FOCUS Brands family.”
“It has been a great pleasure to serve as CEO of FOCUS Brands over the past six years and I am confident that the business is positioned for continued growth with Jim at the helm,” said Mr. DeSutter. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Jim and he has impressed me with his passion for the brands, hospitality and franchising. While it’s always bittersweet to close the door on one chapter, I am very much looking forward to continuing to watch the business grow from my seat in retirement.”