Panera Names Kathy-Jo Payette as Chief People Officer

Panera Bread has been quietly making changes to its management team in the areas of procurement and product development, human resources and digital technology, the St. Louis-based fast-casual chain said Wednesday.

Most recently was the appointment this month of research & development veteran Claes Petersson as the chief food innovation officer at the chain of more than 2,100 locations.

Before joining Panera, Petersson was the chief innovation officer and vice president of Max Burgers, based in Stockholm, Sweden. Previously he was chief food innovation officer at Pizza Hut and vice president of R&D and packaging innovation at Sonic Drive-In. He also has had product development roles at Godiva Chocolate and Campbell Soup Company, Scandinavia.

In April, Panera hired Kathy-Jo Payette as its chief people officer. Most recently she was chief human resources officer at convenience store chain Cumberland Farms, and before that she spent 22 years at CVS, eventually becoming the drug store chain’s senior vice president of human resources.

In January, Gregg Waterman became Panera’s chief manufacturing & supply chain officer with responsibilities for supply chain, quality assurance and the chain’s fresh dough facilities. Like Ornelas, Waterman also worked in supply chain management for Yum! Brands, including his most recent position as senior vice president for supply chain at KFC.

Before that he worked for The Coca-Cola Company for 24 years.

And last December, George Hanson took over as Panera’s senior vice president and chief digital officer.

A veteran in digital sales for clothing companies, most recently he was vice president of e-commerce for North America for Under Armour. Before that he was in charge of digital business for Lane Bryant. He also held leadership positions at Lands’ End, including heading up its business in Japan.

The announcement of those appointments comes on the heels of naming Eduardo Luz as Panera’s chief brand and concept officer.

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