Former Darden CEO to president of Panera

by Eric Schroeder
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ST. LOUIS — Drew Madsen, former president and CEO of Darden Restaurants Inc., has been named president of Panera Bread Co. He will report to Ron Shaich, chairman and CEO. Madsen will oversee the core cafe business, while Shaich will focus on strategy, growth initiatives and innovation across the company. 

Drew Madsen, president, Panera Bread Co.

Drew Madsen

Panera has been without a president since Bill Moreton transitioned out of the position and into the role of executive vice chairman in 2013.

Madsen was president and COO of Darden Restaurants Inc., the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, from 2005 to 2013. During his nine years in that position, the casual-dining company's number of restaurants grew by 61 percent, sales grew 81 percent and earnings per share doubled, leading to a total shareholder return of 110 percent.

He earlier was president of Darden’s Olive Garden chain and was Olive Garden’s executive vice-president of marketing prior to that. Before that, he was president of International Masters Publishers and vice president/general manager of James River Corp. He began his career at General Mills, where he spent 12 years, progressing from marketing assistant to vice-president of marketing.

He received his bachelor’s degree from DePauw Univ. and his master’s degree in business administration from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the Univ. of Michigan.

In addition, Ken Koziol joined Panera as executive vice president on April 27. Koziol will oversee a range of cafe support functions.

Koziol previously was with McDonald’s, where he was executive vice-president and worldwide chief restaurant officer. Before that, he led McDonald’s corporate innovation function. While at McDonald’s, he also was vice-president of worldwide restaurant innovation; vice-president of worldwide quality assurance; and senior director of US supply chain management.

Koziol received his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois Univ. and his master’s degree in business administration from Northern Illinois Univ.

“We are excited to welcome Drew and Ken to Panera, rounding out the strongest senior leadership team we’ve ever had,” Shaich said. “This is a pivotal time for Panera as we continue to make progress on initiatives to make Panera a better competitive alternative with expanded growth opportunities. Both Drew and Ken are talented and accomplished executives who will augment our organizational capabilities as we work to improve the guest experience through Panera 2.0 (inclusive of digital access and improved operational capabilities); drive consumer excitement through innovation in food, marketing and store design; and build capabilities to grow in adjacent businesses, including catering, delivery and consumer products. Given the strength of our plan and our team’s ability to execute that plan, I am evermore confident we will achieve our mission of positioning Panera for significant earnings growth for years to come.”

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