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Ryan Esko president and CEO
<p>Ryan Esko, president and CEO</p>

Sun Capital principal named president, CEO of Smokey Bones

Ryan Esko replaces Chris Artinian at the casual-dining chain

Sun Capital Partners Inc. principal Ryan Esko has been named chair, president and CEO of Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, the company announced Tuesday.

Esko replaces Chris Artinian, who left the company to pursue other opportunities, the company said. Artinian served as president and CEO since 2012.

“We are very pleased that Ryan is joining Smokey Bones,” Anthony Polazzi, a member of Smokey Bones’ board of directors, said in a statement. “With Ryan now on board, we plan to move quickly to continue our growth plan by adding new stores, completing major remodels and looking at potential acquisitions.”

Boca Raton, Fla.-based private equity firm Sun Capital acquired the Smokey Bones chain in 2008 for about $80 million.

At Sun Capital, Esko served as principal of performance improvement, responsible for the supervision of improvement projects for Sun Capital’s portfolio of companies, which, in the restaurant space, includes brands like Boston Market, Friendly’s, Johnny Rockets and Bar Louie.

For Smokey Bones, Esko led key initiatives that have improved sales, financial performance and guest satisfaction scores, the company said.

His prior experience includes running several U.S. and international consumer and retail businesses, though they were not identified.

Based in Orlando, Fla., Smokey Bones operates 66 locations in 16 states, including new brand prototypes in Peabody, Mass., and Mt. Prospect, Ill.

Contact Lisa [email protected].
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