Friendly’s, Johnny Rockets name new CEOs

Friendly’s, Johnny Rockets name new CEOs

Chains return to separate leadership under George Michel and Mike Nolan as John Maguire exits

John Maguire, CEO of both Friendly’s and Johnny Rockets, is stepping down from both chains, the companies said Thursday morning.

George Michel, who retired as CEO of Boston Market earlier this year, has been named interim CEO of the Wilbraham, Mass.-based Friendly’s. He starts Oct. 1.

Johnny Rockets said company president Mike Nolan will become CEO of the 1950s diner chain on Oct. 1.

Maguire is exiting the roles after six years as CEO of Friendly’s and after two years as CEO of Johnny Rockets. He is accepting “another opportunity,” both chains said.

The companies did not elaborate on that position.

Friendly’s parent company, FIC Restaurants Inc., is owned by Sun Capital Partners.  The private-equity firm also owns Lake Forest, Calif.-based Johnny Rockets. In 2016, Maguire was named CEO of Johnny Rockets.

With Maguire’s departure, both companies are ending the bicoastal CEO position.

Nolan, who previously also served as CEO of Smashburger for less than a year, has been with Johnny Rockets since August 2017. He was previously the president of Southern California-based build-your-own pizza brand, Pieology.

“I’m incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to lead this storied international brand,” Nolan said in a statement. “Over the past year, I have come to appreciate the universal appeal that this brand enjoys around the world, and I’m truly excited to partner with this team to build an even stronger relationship with our customers and our franchisees.”

Johnny Rockets has more than 400 domestic and international restaurants.

When Sun Capital acquired Friendly’s in 2007, the brand operated 515 family-dining restaurants. Today, Friendly’s has more than over 200 locations in 14 states.

Maguire said it’s been a privilege to run both brands, especially Friendly’s. During his tenure, he led several initiatives including redesigning Friendly’s restaurants and testing locations with drive-through windows.

 “Friendly’s is a big part of who I am,” he said in a statement. “The spirit of the organization, the people who I have had the pleasure of working with, and the great customers who keep coming back – those are all reasons why Friendly’s is so special.”

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @FastFoodMaven

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