Focus Brands has announced the creation of two new executive roles to promote the unification and organization of brands across two categories: specialty brands (Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, and Jamba), and restaurant brands (McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s). Former president of Cinnabon, Kristen Hartman, has been promoted to president of specialty brands; and former president of Moe’s Southwest Grill, Erik Hess, has been promoted to president of restaurant brands.
“As we continue to move our company and brands into the future, we must invest in key talent necessary to propel our brands forward and enhance services provided to our guests and franchisees,” Jim Holthouser, CEO, Focus Brands said in a statement. “I’m thrilled we have such highly regarded tenured industry executives within our four walls and that we continue to attract exceptional leaders to grow our teams.”
Hartman joined Focus Brands in 2012 as vice president of marketing for Cinnabon, and has held multiple positions at Focus Brands, including president of Cinnabon for two years. Previously, she held multiple leadership positions at Burger King.
Before becoming president of Moe’s Southwest Grill in 2019, Hess held positions as a restaurant consultant, and multiple vice president roles at McDonald’s.
Focus Brands also announced other leadership role changes within the company. Anissa Mandell was promoted to senior vice president of supply chain, where she will oversee strategic planning for all of the brands’ supply chain, distribution, logistics and quality.
Former Bloomin’ Brands executive Alex Williams has joined Moe’s Southwest Grill as chief brand officer to lead the brand’s business, and former Buffalo Wild Wings chief marketing officer Seth Freeman has joined the company as vice president of marketing for Schlotzsky’s. Both positions are meant to drive brand growth and innovation.