Los Angeles-based The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has named Karen Cate its new chief financial officer and Jeff Schroeder its new vice president of operations.

Cate will be responsible for all accounting, finance, treasury and IT functions for the coffeehouse chain. Most recently, she was a vice president and controller of Trader Joe’s Company. Prior to that role at the grocery store operator, she held finance positions with Sun Microsystems, Nestle USA and Avery Dennison Corp.

In his role as vice president of operations, Schroeder will oversee the operations, customer relations and training for all domestic company-owned and franchised Coffee Bean locations. He had been vice president of brewery restaurants for Karl Strauss Brewing Company most recently, but his 30-year career in the restaurant industry also includes a stint as division vice president for Jack in the Box and management roles with McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Arby’s.


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“The momentum we’re generating at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf requires solid financial, technological and operations expertise,” chief executive John Dawson said in a statement. “We searched extensively to find the most seasoned leaders in these fields, and we’re proud to welcome Karen and Jeff. Their talent, experience and people-first orientation complement our existing leadership team, which further positions us to attain our goals for the coming years.”

Dawson was another recent addition to the company, becoming chief executive Jan. 1, after a long career with Dunkin’ Brands Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. He replaced Mel Elias, who transitioned to Coffee Bean’s board of directors.

Last September, a triumvirate of private-equity firms — Advent International, CDIB Capital and Mirae Asset Private Equity — bought a controlling stake in the company.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf operates or franchises more than 950 coffeehouses in nearly 30 countries, including more than 300 locations in the United States.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN