Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza has named industry veteran Jim Mizes president and chief operating officer, the fast-casual pizza chain said Tuesday.

Mizes, who will be responsible for leading the ongoing national expansion of Pasadena, Calif.-based Blaze, previously served as president of Freebirds World Burrito. Prior to his role at Freebirds, Mizes served as vice president of brand development and vice president of store operations at Jamba Juice, as well as chief executive of Noah’s New York Bagels.

Mizes replaces Blaze co-founder Elise Wetzel, who has been promoted to co-CEO, in the position.

“The addition of Jim to our team highlights our commitment to assembling a best-in-class headquarter staff,” said Wetzel in a statement. “Jim has overseen the development of over 500 restaurants in his career, and is well suited to lead our franchise expansion across the country.”

Blaze Pizza, which is one of a number of chains in the growing fast-casual pizza segment, currently has more than 150 franchised restaurants in development, including multi-unit agreements in California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and Washington, D.C.

“Blaze Pizza is the leader in the exploding fast-casual pizza sector,” Mizes said in a statement. “I joined this team because I wanted to be part of a brand that is going to change the way this country enjoys pizza…. I’m looking forward to building Blaze Pizza into a nationally recognized and enduring brand that redefines the pizza experience.”

Contact Charlie Duerr at charles.duerr@penton.com.