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Earl of Sandwich changes CEO after Quiznos lawsuit

DENVER A trade-secrets lawsuit filed two months ago by Quiznos Sub against its former senior vice president of operations and development, Michael Grodi, apparently has led to his replacement as president and chief executive of the rival Earl of Sandwich chain.

Denver-based Quiznos had accused Grodi of taking its secrets and unidentified employees to his new job as head of the fledgling Earl of Sandwich, based in Orlando, Fla.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Denver, also named Earl of Sandwich as a defendant.

Although the parties could not be reached at presstime to confirm a settlement, a statement on Earl of Sandwich's website said that chief financial officer Thomas Avallone was named "interim president and CEO" in July. In addition, a person within Earl of Sandwich had indicated that Grodi left because of the suit.

Referring to Grodi and Earl of Sandwich, a Quiznos spokeswoman previously said her company had "evidence of systematic efforts by those defendants not only to steal our employees in violation of non-solicitation agreements, but also to steal our proprietary and confidential business information."

The defendants had been quoted as denying the allegations.

Earl of Sandwich, which hired Grodi in January, has three fast-casual units in Florida and single stores in California, Indiana and Texas. The concept was begun in London by descendants of the fourth Earl of Sandwich, reputed inventor in 1762 of the namesake food item, and was brought to the United States by entrepreneur Robert Earl.

Quiznos and its franchisees operate more than 5,000 sandwich shops.

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