Cosi shakes up leadership team

by Eric Schroeder
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 Cosi
During the former president and CEO's tenure Cosi relocated its headquarters, updated its menus and closed a number of unprofitable locations. 
 

BOSTON — Fast-casual restaurant company Cosi, Inc.  is searching for a new CEO and CFO after the former was terminated by the board of directors and the latter left to accept a position at another company.

RJ Dourney had been president and CEO since 2014. Patrick Bennett, a member of the board of directors, will serve as interim CEO and president working in close conjunction with the full board while the company conducts a search for a permanent CEO.

During Dourney’s tenure, Cosi relocated its headquarters to Downtown Crossing from Deerfield, Illinois, updated its menus and closed a number of unprofitable locations. He also merged his local franchise group, Hearthstone Associates, into the parent company. But the company also has a battled a challenging economic environment. On Aug. 11 the company said it lost $3 million in the most recent quarter and that revenue had dropped 7 percent in the past year.

Cosi said Bennett has “extensive experience working with distressed companies and building high-performance executive teams focused on delivering significantly improved results in complex and challenging business environments, in both public and private companies.” He also has experience in developing and executing growth strategies and multi-faceted strategic plans to improve market share, gross revenue and profitability, the company said.

“That experience, together with his substantial experience in dealing with financial markets and regulated industries, provides valuable perspective on strategic planning, growth initiatives and the challenges of our business,” Cosi said.

During the transition, Bennett will work closely with the company’s board of directors, who will continue to be actively involved and provide assistance to management as the company continues to focus on its turnaround strategy.

Earlier, on Aug. 16, Miguel Rossy-Donovan, CFO, submitted his resignation effective Sept. 23, to accept the position of CFO at another company.

Cosi said its board of directors has begun the search to replace its CFO, and over the course of the transition period, Rossy-Donovan will be working closely with the company and the board of directors to ensure the continuity of previously implemented financial and cash management systems, and the implementation of operating priorities required to facilitate the execution of the next phase of the company’s strategic plan. 

“Miguel has been instrumental in working with management and the board of directors to instill discipline to the execution of our most immediate needs to drive the momentum of the company’s turnaround,” said Mark Demilio, chairman of the board. “We are saddened about his departure and wish him the best as he embarks on a different path.  We appreciate that Miguel has agreed to a period of transition and are excited about the role he will play during this time in ensuring we are well-positioned to execute our strategy.” 

 
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