Einstein Noah names new CEO

LAKEWOOD Colo. Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. has named quick-service veteran Jeff O’Neill chief executive and director, the company said Wednesday.

O’Neill replaced Paul Murphy, who had worked for the company for 16 years. Murphy resigned from his post as chief executive and president of Einstein Noah, which operates or franchises more than 600 restaurants under the Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel brands. Murphy had led the company since 2003.

Nelson Heumann, chairman at Einstein Noah, said that Murphy had “decided to make a change and has worked closely with the board to ensure a smooth transition.”

O’Neill’s latest employer, Priszm Income Fund, is a Toronto-based Yum! Brands Inc. master franchisee that operates 465 restaurants under the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands. O’Neill served there as chief operating officer and president prior to his latest role as chief executive. Before his work at Priszm, O’Neill was president of Pepsi Cola Canada.

“I am excited to be joining Einstein Noah at this time, to build on past accomplishments, and to work with the team to develop new and exciting business building initiatives designed to drive incremental sales and profitability across the company.” O’Neill said in a statement.

For its latest quarter ended in September, Einstein Noah earned $4.5 million on revenues of $100.9 million, which compared to year-ago earnings of $4.9 million on revenues of $100.4 million. Its latest-quarter same-store sales fell 1.7 percent, which the company said was mainly because of its decision to reduce operating hours at some restaurants to help protect its profit margins.