The Smashburger better-burger chain said late Tuesday that its chief executive Dave Prokupek had stepped down and has been replaced by the chain’s president Scott Crane.

Prokupek’s departure was not explained, but he has served in leadership at the Denver-based chain since it was founded in 2007 by Consumer Capital Partners. Initially Prokupek served as chairman, but he was named chief executive in 2010.

In addition to his role at Smashburger, Prokupek was a managing partner and chief investment officer for Consumer Capital Partners, which was created by Quiznos’ former chair and chief executive Rick Schaden.

A Smashburger spokesman confirmed that Prokupek has also left Consumer Capital Partners, but the company could not comment further.

Schaden, who serves as chair of Smashburger’s board of managers, thanked Prokupek for his contributions and wished him the best.

“As we reach new heights in becoming the global leader in better burgers, I’d like to congratulate Scott on earning his way to the top spot in our company,” said Schaden in a statement. “We couldn’t ask for a better combination of experience and passion for our brand.”

Dave Prokupek stepped down as CEO in an unexplained departureSchaden said Crane has been a large part of Smashburger’s growth so far.

“We are confident he is the right executive to lead Smashburger into its next chapter, teaming up with founder Tom Ryan in continuing to execute an unparalleled food and hospitality experience for customers, and solid, calculated growth for our brand,” Schaden said.

Crane has served as president of Smashburger for the past six years. Before he joined the company, he was executive vice president of Fugate Enterprises, a Wichita, Kan.-based operator of franchised brands including Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Blockbuster Video stores.

In August, reports indicated that Smashburger had hired North Point Advisors LLC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to look for sources of growth capital. Company officials declined comment on the report.

In recent months, Prokupek has also hinted that an initial public offering may be in Smashburger’s future, though not this year.

The Smashburger chain includes more than 230 company-owned and franchise locations in 30 states and four international countries.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com
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