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Pinkberry names Graves CEO

LOS ANGELES Ron Graves has been officially named chief executive of the Pinkberry frozen yogurt chain, after serving as interim CEO for months, the company said Tuesday.

Graves was named interim CEO in October 2007, when Pinkberry received a $27.5 million investment by Seattle-based venture capital firm Maveron LLC, which was co-founded by Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz.

Pinkberry founders Shelly Hwang and Young Lee retained a significant ownership stake after the investment. Hwang oversees product development, and Lee is in charge of store design.

Graves, formerly a general partner in Maveron, plans to build an executive team that will help the chain grow domestically and internationally. Founded in 2005 in Los Angeles, the Pinkberry chain has grown to 60 units in Southern California and New York.

“Pinkberry has captivated the hearts and minds of a large and growing consumer base. We needed a CEO who could balance the company’s business needs but stay true to the brand,” said Hwang. “Ron brings strong leadership and passion -- we’re looking forward to developing and growing the Pinkberry brand with him.”

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