Foodservice Franchisor Focuses on DeSutter

Published in CSP Daily News

Focus Brands brings on former Stripes leader as its new president, CEO

Steve DeSutter

ATLANTA -- Calling him a "dynamic, results-oriented leader," Neal Aronson, managing partner at Roark Capital Group, the majority owner of Focus Brands Inc., announced that Steve DeSutter, until recently president and CEO of the Stripes convenience store chain, will join the company as president and CEO on March 17, 2014.

Current Focus Brands CEO Russ Umphenour will remain on the company's board.

As reported in a 21st Century Smoke/CSP Daily News Flash, with more than 4,440 ice cream shops, bakeries, restaurants and cafes in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 63 countries, Atlanta-based 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).

DeSutter brings a deep background in food, multi-brand management, franchising, domestic and international growth and leadership.

With more than $4 billion in sales, Stripes LLC operates approximately 620 convenience stores and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Corpus Christi, Texas-based Susser Holdings Corp.

Click here to read CSP Daily News ' exclusive interview with the departing DeSutter.

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 Corp., his final position there was president of Europe and the Middle East. He began his career at British Petroleum, working in operations, marketing and finance roles during his 18 years with the company.

"The opportunity to lead Focus Brands is a great privilege," DeSutter said. "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."

DeSutter "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," said Aronson. "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, "I am very excited about the skills and experience that Steve DeSutter brings to the table. I'm looking forward to his leadership as Focus continues to grow into the future."

Focus Brands is also home to former Pantry CFO Frank Paci, who is the CEO of McAlister’s Deli, a 322 unit fast-casual restaurant chain. And one of the company's other restaurant brands, Schlotzsky's, is currently seeing to expand into the c-store channel.

Roark Capital Group is an Atlanta-based private-equity firm that specializes in franchise, brand management, environmental services and marketing services companies with attractive growth prospects.