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O’Donnell succeeds Craft as Famous Dave’s CEO

MINNEAPOLIS Christopher O’Donnell has been named president and chief executive of Famous Dave’s of America Inc. following the resignation of Wilson Craft, who held the posts for less than five months.


Craft resigned because he did not want to uproot his family from Atlanta, according to the franchisor or operator of 172 barbecue restaurants. Craft had been commuting to Famous Dave’s headquarters here until he found a home in the area, the company said in a statement.



O’Donnell was promoted to his new posts after serving as chief operating officer. The 48-year-old has worked for Famous Dave’s for more than 10 years. Earlier, he worked for Pencom International, a publisher of training and management guides for the hospitality industry.



Craft joined Famous Dave’s on April 21. He previously served as executive vice president of operations for Atlanta-based Longhorn Steakhouse, the 300-unit chain that is now part of Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants Inc. From 2003 to 2005, he was president of Chili’s Grill & Bar, the largest chain in the portfolio of Dallas-based Brinker International Inc.



K. Jeffrey Dahlberg, Famous Dave’s chairman, said the company’s board supports Craft’s decision to remain in Atlanta and wishes him well.



Famous Dave’s has 124 franchised restaurants and 48 corporate stores in 36 states.


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