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President, five other execs exit Raving Brands

ATLANTA Daryl Dollinger has succeeded Stephen M. LaMastra as president of Raving Brands in an executive shake-up that included the departure of at least five other high-level officials, the multiconcept quick-service franchisor confirmed Thursday.

Dollinger said LaMastra and the others resigned as the result of a “mutual understanding.” They included company co-founder Seth Salzman, chief financial officer Tom Herman, vice president and house counsel Anne Friesen, vice president of corporate operations John Amend, and Doc Green’s Gourmet Salads & Grill chief Carl Griffenkranz.

Martin Sprock, co-founder of Atlanta-based Raving, remains chairman and chief executive, Dollinger indicated.

He did not elaborate on what led to the resignations.

The management overhaul comes as the company is embroiled in a number of lawsuits filed by franchisees.

“We have to deal with it every day,” Dollinger said. “A lot of it we feel is unjust, especially for brands we don’t have anymore, but in the end it will all come out to be frivolous. It doesn’t seem to affect our ability to sell franchises.”

In addition to Doc Green’s, Raving’s restaurant brands include seven-unit Boneheads Grilled Fish and Piri Piri Chicken, 140-store Planet Smoothie, 80-restaurant Shane’s Rib Shack, and six-unit The Flying Biscuit Café, a full-service operation. It also franchises the 23-outlet Monkey Joe’s chain of entertainment centers.

Dollinger said that the company plans to unveil a new concept by the beginning of 2009.

At one time, Raving consisted of nine bands, including Moe’s Southwest Grill, which was sold to Focus Brands.

Most of the vacated posts were filled with persons promoted from within, Dollinger indicated. Salzman, who was running the Boneheads chain, was replaced by Michael Devilliers. Griffenkranz was succeeded by Valerie Anderson.

Dollinger has been with Raving since it was founded in 2003. He said in an interview that he plans to support the company’s franchisees and to continue growing the brands. More than 100 units are in development, he said.

LaMastra joined the company three years ago as operations chief and was elevated to president in 2006.

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