UPDATE: Quiznos founder retakes reins as CEO

UPDATE: Quiznos founder retakes reins as CEO

DENVER Rick Schaden, Quiznos' founder and largest shareholder, has resumed the role of chief executive after the resignation of Dave Deno, the company said Monday.

Deno, who joined Quiznos as president in 2007 and was promoted to chief executive last September [3], resigned for personal reasons. No further explanation was given.

Schaden had stepped down from day-to-day operations in 2007 after growing the chain from 18 franchisees in 1991 to more than 5,000 today.

Greg Brenneman, who had been CEO before Deno, will continue as Quiznos' executive chairman and as chairman of CCMP Capital Advisors, a private-equity firm and investor in Quiznos.

In a statement, Schaden said the company would continue with its present strategy to increase restaurant profitability for franchisees, but that both he and Brenneman would be very involved with Quiznos.

“It is important that the investors directly spend their time and efforts with the company during these challenging economic times,” Schaden said.

Denver-based Quiznos, which had been expanding by 1,000 units a year, slowed its growth in 2008 to 300 units a year.

Deno’s resignation came as a surprise to franchisees, said Danny Kessels, a Quiznos franchisee in Denver and president of the Toasted Subs Franchisee Association, an independent group of Quiznos operators.

“He was respected by the franchisees for his prior successes with other companies and his apparent desire to make Quiznos franchisees more profitable,” Kessels said. “However, during his short tenure nothing changed; franchisees turned over at a record rate and there was no true follow through on making franchisees more profitable.”

Separately on Monday, Quiznos said it would give away a million subs [4] through a new website, www.millionsubs.com [5].

Contact Dina Berta at [email protected] [6].