ATLANTA — Katrina Cole, president and chief operating officer of Focus Brands, has announced her intent to leave the company by the end of the year. Ms. Cole will continue in her role until her departure.
“Focus Brands has seen a strategic transformation in the 10 years Kat has been with the company,” said James E. Holthouser, who joined Focus Brands as chief executive officer in February. “In my time as CEO, we’ve managed through unprecedented times in our industry, and Kat’s leadership and knowledge have helped us pave the way for an exciting 2021 and beyond. She has built a deep bench of diverse leaders and has helped to position the company and its brands for continued future growth. I am grateful for her partnership and wish her the best as she moves to this next chapter.”
Ms. Cole joined Focus Brands in 2010 as president of the company’s Cinnabon business, where she led the turnaround of the franchise business and growth of the global, multi-channel retail brand to more than $1 billion in global branded product sales. In 2017, she was named COO and president, North America for Focus Brands, where she was involved in various brand management, franchising and licensing operations for the company. Prior to joining Focus Brands she was a vice president at Hooters of America, Inc.
She received a master’s degree in business administration from Georgia State University and an honorary doctorate from Johnson and Wales University.
In the immediate future, Focus Brands said Ms. Cole will continue her board and advisory work in various industries, including wellness and food technology, while also continuing her speaking, mentoring, startup investing and community impact work.
“Spending the last decade working with iconic brands and exceptional teams and franchisees, while learning from dynamic CEOs, as well as the company’s owners, has been a great privilege,” Ms. Cole said. “With the growth we have experienced and the incredible leaders we have put in place, there is no better time to make the transition to my next chapter. I couldn’t be more excited about the direction of Focus Brands or prouder of the great teams that will carry on and pursue our vision of continued expansion.”