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California Pizza Kitchen has named a new CEO.

California Pizza Kitchen taps board member for CEO role

Jeff Warne replaces Jim Hyatt, who has served as CPK’s CEO and president since 2018.

California Pizza Kitchen has named Jeff Warne as its new CEO, effective immediately. Warne has served on CPK’s board of directors since November 2020 and replaces Jim Hyatt, who has been in the CEO and president role since 2018.

According to a press release, Warne previously served as president and CEO of Perkins, Marie Callender’s LLC, and O’Charley’s Inc. He has also served as president of Pick Up Stix, COO of TGI Friday’s International and CFO of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide.

“We are thrilled to have Jeff in the CEO role at this incredible brand,” Michael O’Donnell, California Pizza Kitchen board of directors chairman, said in a statement. “He is a proven leader with deep restaurant experience who understands the CPK business and its innovation DNA. He is uniquely positioned to take CPK to its next phase of growth and has already had a huge impact on the organization. We look forward to supporting him as he continues to bring to life his vision.”

Warne currently sits on the board of directors of The Nashville Food Project and formerly served on the board of the Second Harvest Food Bank in Tennessee. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, a bachelor's degree from St. Cloud State University and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and Chartered Financial Analyst.

He joins CPK just over two years after the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Last year, CPK completed a debt refinancing and was rumored to be mulling a sale or IPO, according to Bloomberg.

CPK says it has maintained pre-pandemic performance levels this year driven by its loyalty program, digital upgrades, menu changes and an expanded franchising program. Its first-ever domestic franchising program was announced a year ago. The brand currently includes more than 180 restaurants across 11 countries and territories.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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