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Weldon Spangler named Papa Murphy’s CEO

Former Baskin-Robbins executive lauded for his franchising background

Papa Murphy’s Holdings Inc. on Wednesday named Weldon Spangler (left) the company’s new CEO.

He takes over for Jean Birch, who had served as interim CEO since the former chief executive, Ken Calwell, stepped down late last year.

Spangler will officially begin on July 17. Birch, meanwhile, will continue to chair the Vancouver, Wash.-based company’s board of directors.

“Weldon is a seasoned leader with over 30 years of restaurant experience, and his expertise in managing and developing franchise businesses makes him a great fit for the company’s next chapter,” Birch said in a statement. 

Spangler spent the past seven years with Dunkin’ Brands Inc., most recently as president of Baskin-Robbins in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. Papa Murphy’s said that Spangler worked with franchisees during his time at Dunkin’ and helped launch several company initiatives. He also has held roles at Starbucks Corp. and Yum Brands! Inc. 

He takes over the helm of a company struggling to generate sales recently — same-store sales fell 5 percent in the first three months of the year, for instance. The company is hoping that refranchising will be key to its future. Papa Murphy’s operates less than 170 of the chain’s more than 1,500 locations, but would like to sell many of those to franchisees.

“With a focus on the success of our franchisees, Papa Murphy’s has a significant opportunity to grow and thrive,” Spangler said in a statement. “I am excited to begin partnering with the entire organization to enhance long-term shareholder value.”

Meanwhile, Papa Murphy’s also announced that its CFO, Mark Hutchens, will also get the title of executive vice president. The promotion “reflects the key role he plays in our company,” Birch said. “He has proven himself a tireless leader and has made significant contributions to all facets of our business.”

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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