FOCUS Brands Inc. announced today that Steve DeSutter will join the company as President and Chief Executive Officer on March 17, 2014. With over 4,440 locations operating throughout the U.S. and 63 foreign countries, FOCUS Brands is the franchisor of Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, McAlister’s Deli and Seattle’s Best Coffee (on certain military bases and in certain international markets).
Prior to joining FOCUS, DeSutter was the President and CEO of Stripes, LLC. With over $4 billion in sales, Stripes operates approximately 620 convenience stores, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of publicly traded Susser Holdings.
Neal Aronson, Managing Partner at Roark Capital Group, the majority owner of FOCUS Brands said, “Steve is a dynamic, results-oriented leader. He has a successful track record of growing strong brands domestically and internationally by working closely with the franchise community and team members alike. We are excited to welcome Steve to the FOCUS Brands team.”
“The opportunity to lead FOCUS Brands is a great privilege,” DeSutter said in a statement. “FOCUS Brands has a great history of developing strong relationships with its franchise community and delivering value to its partners across the globe. The management team is talented and experienced, and I look forward to leading the organization as we continue to create value for all of our partners.”
Aronson also commented, “We are extremely grateful for the outstanding leadership and friendship of Russ Umphenour. During Russ’ five years as CEO, FOCUS has achieved record growth. We are pleased that Russ will continue to contribute to the success of FOCUS Brands as a member of the Board of Directors.”
Umphenour said, “FOCUS Brands has some of the finest brands, Franchise Partners, Vendor Partners and Associates that I have ever had the privilege of working with. In addition to all the great things we have accomplished together, I am very excited about the skills and experience that Steve DeSutter brings to the table and I’m looking forward to his leadership as FOCUS continues to grow into the future.”
DeSutter brings a deep background in food, multi-brand management, franchising, domestic and international growth, and leadership. Prior to joining Stripes in June 2008, DeSutter served as Executive Vice President of TurnWorks, Inc. Prior to this, as an officer of Burger King Corporation, Steve’s final position was President of Europe and Middle East. Steve began his career at British Petroleum, working in operations, marketing and finance roles during his 18 years with the company.