Dunkin’ pres, chief brand officer resigns

CANTON Mass. Veteran Dunkin’ Donuts executive William Kussell will step down from his posts as president and chief brand officer of the 8,800-unit snack chain at the end of the year, Dunkin’ said late Thursday.

Nigel Travis, chief executive of Dunkin’s Donuts’ parent company, Dunkin’ Brands Inc., will take over as the chain’s president. Kussell said his decision to resign will allow him to pursue his goal of leading a business.

Kussell has been with the Canton, Mass.-based brand since joining in 1994 as senior vice president of marketing and purchasing. He was promoted to president two years later. Kussell also served as the retail concept officer and chief operating officer for Dunkin’ Brands, where he headed up marketing, operations, franchising, development, supply chain and strategic planning for Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo’s. He was named president and chief brand officer of Dunkin’s Donuts Worldwide in January 2008.

Jim Coen, president of the DD Independent Franchise Owners group in Bellingham, Mass., said Kussell will be difficult to replace.

“He spent 15 years with the brand,” Coen said. “He is a very knowledgeable guy who was credited with bringing a lot of growth to the company. They will have a hard time finding someone with as much experience in dealing with the franchisees.”

Coen also praised Kussell for being a strong supporter of Dunkin’ Donuts’ C+ — or coffee plus — strategy. The C+ program links the promotion of a food item — like a 99 cent biscuit sandwich — with the purchase of a medium coffee or iced coffed, which allows franchisees to offset the sale of a potentially low-margin food item with the more high-margin coffee.

Travis credited Kussell with helping Dunkin’ Donuts grow from about 3,000 locations in 1994 “into the No. 1 coffee and baked goods brand worldwide with more than 8,800 stores in 31 countries.”

“Will has played a pivotal role in leading the transformation of Dunkin’ Donuts and the repositioning of the brand through its acclaimed advertising campaign, ‘America Runs on Dunkin,’” Travis said.

Travis, who previously had served as president and chief executive of Papa John’s International Inc., took over as chief executive of Dunkin’ Brands in December 2008.

“I am pleased I could stay here to assist Nigel during his first year as Dunkin’ Brands CEO, but it is now time for me to pursue my goal of leading a business,” Kussell said. “This has not been an easy decision for me to make given my passion for the Dunkin’ Donuts brand, but it is the right decision for me as I look to the next stage of my career.”

Contact Paul Frumkin at [email protected] [3].