DeSutter Moves to Focus Brands as President, CEO

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DeSutter Moves to Focus Brands as President, CEO


ATLANTA -- Steve DeSutter is moving on from the Stripes convenience store chain to lead Focus Brands Inc. He will take his position as president and CEO of the locally based company March 17.

The news comes one week after it was revealed that DeSutter was stepping down as president and CEO of Susser Holding Corp.'s retail segment. His last day with the Corpus Christi, Texas-based company is Feb. 28.

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

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. In all, the company has more than 4,400 locations operating throughout 64 countries, including the United States.

"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," said Neal Aronson, managing partner at Roark Capital Group, the majority owner of Focus Brands.

DeSutter will take the reins from Russ Umphenour, who has lead Focus Brands for the past five years. Umphenour is not cutting ties to the company, though, and will serve as a member of its board of directors, according to Aronson.

"Focus Brands has some of the finest brands, franchise partners, vendor partners and associates that I have ever had the privilege of working with," Umphenour said. "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."

As CSNews Online previously reported, DeSutter brings with him an extensive résumé in the food retailing industry. Prior to joining Susser Holdings in 2008, he served as executive vice president of TurnWorks Inc. from September 2006 to June 2008 where, in an advisory role, he also served as interim executive vice president of operations for QIP Holder LLC (parent company of Quiznos, a multinational sandwich franchise) from July 2007 to January 2008.

DeSutter also has extensive experience with Burger King Corp., where he served as executive vice president and president of Europe and Middle East operations from December 2005 to August 2006, executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific from December 2004 to November 2005, and senior vice president of corporate communications in 2004.

Prior to joining Burger King, DeSutter was senior vice president with TurnWorks Inc. He began his career at British Petroleum, where he worked in a variety of different operations, marketing and finance roles during his 18 years at the company.