Tom Fricke, the president and chief executive of HMSHost, has stepped down, and will be replaced by company veteran Steve Johnson, effective immediately, the foodservice contractor said Thursday.

Fricke, who joined HMSHost in 2012, is leaving as his contract comes to an end. The company said he plans to return to his home in Atlanta, but will continue serving the Bethesda, Md.-based company in an advisory role.

Gianmario Tondato Da Ruos, chief executive of parent company Autogrill Group, based in Milan, said in a statement that Fricke reshaped the travel dining experience, “creating a level of excellence in food and beverage, customer service and innovation that is unmatched in the industry. I thank Tom for his role in setting the company on a strong foundation to continue growing and developing our business.”

Johnson, who has been with the company for 14 years, previously served as HMSHost’s executive vice president of business development, which included overseeing the business development, design and construction, and restaurant development teams.

He has played a role in winning and extending airport and motorway contracts and has helped enhance the company’s restaurant portfolio, the company said.

A travel venue specialist, HMSHost operates food-and-beverage venues in more than 100 airports around the world, including brands like Starbucks, Chili’s Too and Chick-fil-A. The company, which is part of Autogrill Group, has annual sales of $2.7 billion.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual Top 100 census, HMSHost operations in the U.S. alone generated sales of $1.95 billion in the year that ended in December 2013.

Contact Lisa Jennings at
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout