Umphenour named CEO of Focus Brands

ATLANTA Arby’s veteran Russ Umphenour has succeeded Steve Romaniello as president and chief executive of Focus Brands Inc., franchisor of the Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s, Carvel and Cinnabon chains, the company said Monday.

Romaniello moves up to chairman of Focus and joins Roark Capital Group, the private-equity firm that owns Focus, as managing director and a member of the investment committee. Roark also owns a controlling stake in McAllister’s Corp., franchisor of the namesake fast-casual deli chain.

Umphenour’s appointment follows his exit from the board of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc., the concern that was known as Triarc Cos. Inc. until it completed the acquisition of Wendy’s International Inc. Triarc is now operating and franchising both the Wendy’s and Arby’s chains.

Umphenour had been affiliated with Arby’s since 1967, when he started in a part-counter job at a store. In 1973 he started his own franchise, called RTM, for Results through Motivation, and parlayed it into the system’s largest operator, with 870 stores. When Triarc decided in 1997 to focus exclusively on franchising restaurants, the operator-franchisor divested its company units to RTM for $71 million.

In mid-2005, RTM sold those and all of its other stores to Triarc for $176 million in cash, 10 million shares of stock and $400 million in assumed liabilities. The deal was valued at $706.9 million.

Anumber of RTM’s executives moved at that time to Triarc, including Roland Smith, now CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s and chief executive of its Wendy’s business. Wendy’s/Arby’s currently franchises or operates about 10,340 fast-food restaurants.

Focus Brands was conceived as a pure franchisor, but branched into operating restaurants when it acquired Schlotzsky’s, a fast-casual sandwich brand. Based here, it now franchises or operates 2,200 quick-service restaurants in 32 countries.