Potbelly names Alan Johnson CEO, president

Potbelly names Alan Johnson CEO, president

Sandwich chain continues to review strategic options

Potbelly Corp. has named Alan Johnson as CEO and president, the company said Friday, as the sandwich chain continues to evaluate strategic alternatives.

The Chicago-based brand said Johnson succeeds Michael Coyne, the company’s chief financial officer and interim CEO, who had served in the role since longtime chairman and CEO Aylwin Lewis stepped down in July. Coyne will continue to serve as CFO, the company said.

Potbelly also named Johnson as a board director.

“We are pleased to welcome Alan to Potbelly and to the board,” said Pete Bassi, Potbelly chairman, in a statement. “Alan is a dynamic leader with a long and proven track record of successfully leading retail and restaurant brands.”

In August, Potbelly said it had hired J.P. Morgan Securities as a financial adviser as it looked at all aspects of the sandwich chain’s business and worked to improve negative traffic trends,

Same-store sales in the third quarter ended Sept. 24 declined 4.8 percent, and traffic fell 8.8 percent. Revenue rose 2.3 percent, to $106.1 million in the quarter. Adjusted net income fell 37.5 percent, to $1.9 million, or 7 cents per share.

Potbelly, in making Friday’s announcement, said Johnson “has led retail and restaurant organizations through successful turnarounds and through periods of exceptional growth.”

Most recently, he served as consultant and before that he was CEO of Concord, Calif.-based BevMo!, a retailer of specialty alcoholic beverages and related products.

Johnson’s earlier retail and restaurant leadership included serving as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for PepsiCo’s Eastern Europe restaurant division and as international strategic planning director for Pizza Hut International. He also worked with Regal Theaters and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

“Potbelly is a fantastic brand with tremendous potential. I am honored and excited to lead this company,” Johnson said in prepared remarks. “I am enthusiastic about supporting the board’s evaluation of strategic options to maximize shareholder value and look forward to engaging with our shareholders, employees, franchisees and customers as we chart the optimal future course for Potbelly.”

As of Sept. 24, Potbelly operated 426 locations and franchised 56 units.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless 

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