ATLANTA — Kat Cole has been named chief operating officer and president, North America, for Focus Brands, franchisor and operator of more than 5,000 locations under brands including Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Carvel. In her new role, she will lead the company’s domestic franchise brands in addition to its licensing division.
Ms. Cole joined Focus Brands seven years ago as president of Cinnabon and for the past three years has been president of Focus Brands Global Channels group. Prior to Focus Brands, Ms. Cole was vice-president of Hooters of America for five years.
“Leveraging her deep industry experience and track record of achieving step-change in previous assignments at Focus Brands, Kat’s thought leadership, broad executive experience and exceptional communication skills position her well to enable our brand leaders to drive our business with accelerated energy,” said Steve DeSutter, chief executive officer of Focus Brands. “Those who have ever met Kat know that she is a uniquely skilled leader. She’s purpose-driven and has the demonstrated ability to bridge the worlds of franchising, large global brands, innovation and entrepreneurship with her collaborative management style.”
|Paul Damico, c.e.o. of Naf Naf Grill
Ms. Cole succeeds Paul Damico, who is leaving his position as president, North America, for Focus Brands to take on the role of c.e.o. of Naf Naf Grill, a Middle Eastern restaurant chain based in Chicago.“Over the past nine years, in his role as president of Moe’s Southwest Grill and most recently as the leader for all of our brands domestically, Paul had made a big impact on our business and helped us achieve impressive results,” Mr. DeSutter said. “It has been a pleasure to work with him, and we truly wish him the best as he takes on this next new role.”