VANCOUVER, Wash. – Ken Calwell, CEO and director of Papa Murphy's Holdings Inc., has resigned from his post and effective immediately, Chair of the Board, Jean Birch, has been appointed interim CEO, the company announced Jan. 5. Calwell resigned to “pursue other interests,” according to the company’s release.

The Board has initiated a search to fill the CEO position permanently, and will consider internal and external candidates, according to the release. There is also a vacant director seat on the board to fill after John Barr left last September.

Jean Birch, Papa Murphy's Inc.
Jean Birch, interim-CEO, Papa Murphy's Holdings Inc.

Birch, who previously served as president of IHOP Restaurants Inc., Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Corner Bakery Café, has more than 26 years of restaurant leadership experience. She also held executive leadership roles within YUM! Brands, including vice president of operations for Taco Bell Inc. and senior director of concept development for Pizza Hut Inc.

Birch has served as Chair of the Board since September and as a member of the Board since April 2015.

"While the general climate in the quarter continued to be challenging, we believe we are at a key inflection point at Papa Murphy's, having successfully laid the groundwork for many of our long term strategic initiatives,” Birch said. “We look forward to seeing the results of these initiatives in 2017 and for years to come."

Calwell said, "I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked side by side with the family of team members, franchise owners, and vendors that make Papa Murphy's so special. It has been an honor being part of this great brand and team."

Birch continued, "We appreciate the many years of leadership and service that Ken has provided to Papa Murphy's. His efforts have positioned us well for the future and we wish him all the best as he begins the next chapter in his career."

Papa Murphy’s was founded in 1981 and currently operates more than 1,575 franchised and corporate-owned stores in 38 states, Canada and United Arab Emirates.