Ignite Restaurant Group Inc., parent to the Joe’s Crab Shack and Brickhouse Tavern + Tap chains, has named Michael J. Dixon senior vice president and chief financial officer, effective Jan. 2.
The Houston-based casual-dining company said Dixon will replace Jeffery L. Rager, who resigned in November after the company had to restate earnings because of accounting irregularities that were acknowledged in July following its initial public offering in May.
In October, Ignite restated earnings back to 2006 because of problems with lease and fixed-asset accounting.
Matthew DiFrisco, a restaurant analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, said in a research note that he expected Dixon “to bring refreshed credibility to the IRG team.”
Dixon has more than a dozen years in the foodservice industry, most recently serving as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Pinkberry, the frozen yogurt chain. Dixon also served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at The Cheesecake Factory Inc., from 2004 to 2008, as well as controller from 2000 to 2004. Prior to that, he worked with Petsmart, The Walt Disney Co. and Coopers & Lybrand.
DiFrisco said that Dixon, in his role at Cheesecake Factory, “managed an organization similar in size to IRG today.” He noted that Cheesecake in 2004 had about 90 locations, and Dixon helped grow that to nearly 160 by 2008. In addition, Cheesecake had a dual-brand portfolio with Cheesecake Factory and Grand Lux, DiFrisco noted.
“With the restatements behind IRG and a new CFO in place, we anticipate increased investor confidence in the management team,” DiFrisco wrote.
At the end of its third quarter on Sept. 10, Ignite had 129 Joe’s Crab Shack units and 16 Brick House Tavern + Tap restaurants.
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