Stiles steps down as Ruth’s Chris president

HEATHROW Fla. Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. said Monday that chief executive and president Michael P. O’Donnell had assumed day-to-day responsibility for its Ruth’s Chris Steak House brand following the resignation of chain president Geoffrey D. K. Stiles. The company said Stiles had surrendered the post, as well as his corporate duties as chief operating officer and executive vice president, to “pursue other opportunities.”

Stiles’ resignation was effective immediately, the company said.

The departure is the latest in a series of high-level personnel changes for the restaurant operator and franchisor. O’Donnell, a veteran of such foodservice companies as Champps Entertainment Inc. and the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, was named to his corporate posts in early August. He filled the vacancy left by the April ouster of Craig Miller, who also served as chairman.

Miller had led the company’s $92 million purchase of 22 upscale seafood dinnerhouses and steakhouses from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC.

Ruth’s Chris has been struggling to firm up sales in the face of casual-dining’s downturn and general economic woes.

Ruth’s Hospitality operates or franchises 144 restaurants under the Ruth's Chris, Mitchell's Fish Market, Mitchell's Steakhouse and Cameron's Steakhouse brands.