Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. (Nasdaq:DAVE), today announced the official appointment of Ed Rensi as Chief Executive Officer. The company also announced Richard A. Pawlowski will be named the company’s Chief Financial Officer, effective June 2, 2014. Pawlowski has experience in acquisition and turnaround strategies, particularly with regard to restaurant companies, and was most recently CEO and co-founder of Capitol C Holdings, LLC, a restaurant development, acquisition and operating company. Previously, Richard worked with Bain & Company. Richard earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree in Engineering in Metallurgy, Economics and Management from the University of Oxford.
Diana Purcel, the company’s former Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary, will be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Effective immediately, John P. Beckman, Director of Finance, Accounting and Audit, will become the company’s Chief Accounting Officer. Purcel, who has served as Famous Dave’s CFO and Corporate Secretary since 2003, will remain with the company through July 1, 2014 for transition purposes.
“Diana has demonstrated outstanding leadership during her 10 plus years with Famous Dave’s,” said Ed Rensi. “I have great respect for her talents and on behalf of the management team and the board, I want to thank Diana for her contributions and dedication and wish her every success in her future endeavors. Additionally, we welcome Richard to the team as we prepare for our next chapter of growth.”
In addition, Famous Dave’s announced the resignation of two board members, Richard Monfort and Lisa Kro, effective May 21, 2014, who have served on the company’s board of directors since 1996 and 2009, respectively. Concurrently with the resignations, the company announced the addition of two new board members, Jonathan Lennon and Brett D. Heffes.
Mr. Lennon is the Founder and Portfolio Manager of Pleasant Lake Partners, a global concentrated equity investment fund and 12.8% investor in Famous Dave’s. Prior to founding Pleasant Lake Partners, he was an analyst at JAT Capital, and prior to that, he was in the Investment Banking division of Goldman Sachs & Co.
Mr. Heffes, who will take over as audit committee chair, is currently President of Winmark Corporation, a franchisor of five value-oriented retail store concepts and a technology equipment leasing company focused on middle market customers. During the past twelve years, he has served in numerous positions for Winmark, including President of Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
“Both Dick and Lisa have made significant contributions to Famous Dave’s over the years, and their insights and expertise have been invaluable. We thank them both for their years of service and will miss them,” said Dean Riesen, Famous Dave’s Chairman of the Board. “Our company continues to evolve, however, and as such, we welcome new members, Jonathan and Brett to our board. I look forward to their contributions and working with them in building and growing this brand.”