ST. LOUIS — Niren Chaudhary has been tapped as the new president and CEO of Panera Bread Co., a subsidiary of JAB Holding Co. Chaudhary will succeed Blaine Hurst, who plans to retire on May 23 after leading the company since January 2018. Hurst will remain on Panera’s board and become vice chairman.
Chaudhary joins Panera from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., another portfolio company of JAB Holding. Chaudhary has been chief operating officer and president of Krispy Kreme International since 2017. Before that, he spent 23 years with Yum! Brands Inc. in a variety of executive positions, including president of KFC Global and president of Yum! India.
“We are delighted that Niren will become the new CEO of Panera Brand,” said Oliver Goudet, Panera chairman and CEO and managing partner of JAB Holding. “Niren is a recognized industry leader with an impressive track record of establishing brands and leading companies to achieve growth in markets around the world. He is passionate about serving the people he works with as well as his customers and has shown a keen ability to develop growth strategies that appeal to consumer needs no matter where they reside. These qualities make him perfectly suited to lead Panera into the next phase of global growth in the US and abroad, while maintaining its mission of doing good in the world and serving food as it should be.”
Hurst had been with Panera since 2010, holding various roles, including executive vice president and chief transformation and growth officer. He has been Panera’s president and CEO since January 2018. Hurst will work alongside Chaudhary after he joins the company in early May to help ensure a smooth transition into his new role, Panera said.
“We are deeply grateful for Blaine’s contributions during his time at Panera,” Goudet said. “Blaine played a significant role in making Panera a leader in the industry, including his tireless efforts to lead Panera through its omnichannel journey, including Panera 2.0, digital, delivery, catering, brand evolution and his commitment to diversity and inclusion. To that effect, we are excited that Blaine has agreed to join JAB to help accelerate the technology transformation of our other food portfolio brands such as Pret a Manger.”