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El Pollo Loco names Steve Sather CEO

Company also appoints Samuel Borgese as chairman

El Pollo Loco has promoted Steve Sather to president and chief executive and appointed former Charlie Brown's leader Samuel Borgese as executive chairman, parent company EPL Intermediate Inc. said Tuesday.

Sather, who has been with Costa Mesa, Calif.-based grilled chicken chain since 2006, has served as interim president and chief executive since mid-August, replacing Steve Carley who left to become chief executive of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

Borgese is the former chief executive of CB Holding Corp., parent to the Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, Bugaboo Creek Steak House and The Office Beer Bar & Grill concepts, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.

The part-time role of executive chairman is a new position for El Pollo Loco, and officials said Borgese would be actively involved in helping the fast-casual chain “execute its strategy.”

“We are thrilled to have these two gifted and highly experienced restaurant industry executives at the helm of El Pollo Loco and know that they will lead our dedicated group of employees and franchisees in growing this outstanding brand,” said Dean Kehler, managing partner of Trimaran Capital Partners LLC, the private-equity fund that owns El Pollo Loco Inc.

Before Sather joined El Pollo Loco, he served as senior vice president of retail operations for Great Circle Family Foods LLC, a franchise operator of the Krispy Kreme doughnuts brand in Southern California. Sather also is a former chief operating officer for Rubio’s Restaurants Inc., and he held senior management positions at Rally’s Hamburgers, La Salsa Holding Co., and Taco Bell.

Prior to CB Holding, Borgese was president and chief executive of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Catalina Restaurant Group, parent to the Coco’s and Carrows family-dining concepts.

El Pollo Loco operates and franchises more than 400 units in 12 states.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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