Former Stripes LLC executive Steve DeSutter has been named president and chief executive of multi-concept franchisor Focus Brands Inc., effective March 17, the company said Tuesday.

DeSutter will replace Russ Umphenour, who has served as CEO for five years and will continue with Focus Brands as a member of the board of directors.

Based in Atlanta, Focus Brands is the franchisor of seven brands: Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, McAlister’s Deli and Seattle’s Best Coffee — the latter on military bases and in some international markets. The various chains include more than 4,440 locations across the U.S. and in 63 foreign countries.

DeSutter was previously the president and chief executive of Stripes LLC, operator of about 620 convenience stores with about $4 billion in sales and a subsidiary of Susser Holdings. Prior to his work at Stripes, DeSutter was executive vice president of turnaround management firm TurnWorks Inc., and, before that, an executive with Burger King Corp., serving for a time as that chain’s president of Europe and the Middle East.

“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,” Neal Aronson, managing partner of Atlanta-based private-equity firm Roark Capital Group, which owns Focus Brands, said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome Steve to the Focus Brands team.”

Aronson also thanked Umphenour for his leadership and friendship, noting that the outgoing CEO led Focus Brands through a period of 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,” he said.

DeSutter called the opportunity a great privilege. “Focus Brands has a great history of developing strong relationships with its franchise community and delivering value to its partners across the globe,” he said in a statement. “The management team is talented and experienced, and I look forward to leading the organization as we continue to create value for all our partners.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
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