ST. LOUIS — Debbie Roberts has been named executive vice president and chief operations officer at Panera Bread.
Roberts joins Panera after three decades at McDonald’s Corp., where she most recently was East Zone president with responsibility for 7,000 restaurants in 11 regions. Before that, she was president of the company’s Northeast Zone, vice president and general manager of the Midwest Region, vice president of operations, senior marketing director and finance manager.
In her new role, she will lead of all Panera’s operations and operations support functions.
“We are thrilled to welcome Debbie to Panera and looking forward to her bringing her strong record of cross-functional partnership, results-driven engagement, and especially, her focus on people as the core of operational excellence,” said Niren Chaudhary, chief executive officer of Panera Bread. “As the brand continues to grow and transform, Debbie’s experience will bring fresh perspective and unparalleled industry experience to our executive team.”
Roberts’ hire is the latest addition to Panera’s leadership team, which has expanded to bring veterans from companies including Kraft, Yum! Brands, Unilever, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola recently.