Ronald M. Shaich
Founder & Chairman
Ron Shaich is the founder and chairman of Panera Bread, a groundbreaking restaurant brand that today has more than 2,360 bakery-cafes, over 100,000 associates and nearly $6 billion in annual system wide sales. Ron also served as Panera’s CEO from 1984 to 2010 and again from March 2012 to January 2018. Ron is highly respected for his ability to recognize and capitalize on marketplace opportunities. In addition to founding Panera, which established the high-growth fast-casual restaurant segment, Ron earlier in his career founded and grew Au Bon Pain, establishing the bakery-cafe segment. With both brands he disrupted an existing industry paradigm and found new pathways to building companies of value and with values. The result: Panera was the best-performing restaurant stock of the past 20 years, generating annualized returns in excess of 25% over the past two decades and delivering a total shareholder return 44 times better than the S&P 500 from July 18, 1997, to July 18, 2017 (when Ron led a take-private transaction for Panera).
Panera’s history is one of transformations and what Ron calls “smart, long-term bets.” Decades ago, Ron recognized the potential of a bakery-café, versus simply a bakery, and this led to the original development and growth of Au Bon Pain. He then conceived in Panera a new way to eat – based on real food, associates that cared and an environment that engaged people. That approach came to be known as “fast casual” – now a $40 billion “segment” of the restaurant industry. When it became clear Panera had the potential to be a nationally dominant brand, Ron made the decision to sell all of ABP’s other businesses. Doing so allowed all financial and human resources to be focused on Panera to insure it had the opportunity to fulfill its potential. During the booming dot.com years, Panera’s growth remained disciplined, and when the Great Recession hit, Ron held true to his contrarian nature, investing in the guest experience as competitors were ripping costs from their P&L. This drove strong comps throughout the recession. At the same time, Ron expanded development and built some of the highest ROI cafes in the Panera system.
In his last six years as CEO, Ron again transformed Panera, ensuring it is a better competitive alternative with expanded runways for growth and once again changing the industry. Indeed, the themes Ron bet on – digital, clean, loyalty and omni-channel – are reshaping the restaurant landscape as others race to adopt them, and Panera is leading in all of them.
Ron has been recognized repeatedly for his visionary leadership. In 2017, he received the Legend in Leadership Award from the Chief Executive Leadership Institute at the Yale School of Management. He was also named the second most influential leader in the restaurant industry by Nation's Restaurant News in its 2017 Power List. Earlier, he received the Nation’s Restaurant News 2011 Pioneer Award for being one of the most significant contributors to the history of the restaurant industry. Past winners have included Colonel Harland Sanders, Ray Kroc, Norman Brinker and J. Willard Marriott Sr. Ron was awarded IFMA’s Gold Plate Award for being the industry’s outstanding leader in 2005. And he twice received the Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award, recognizing industry leadership and success. In addition, Ron was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the New England region in 1998, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Midwest region in 2003, and a finalist for the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.
Known for his innovative management style and social consciousness, Ron has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, The Economist, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, TheStreet.com, Bloomberg News and on MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News and ABC World News Tonight and in several books. He is a LinkedIn Influencer and a frequent guest on CNBC.
Ron serves as President of the Panera Bread Foundation and spearheaded the Panera Cares initiative, through which the Foundation creates nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing issues related to food insecurity. He formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University and on the boards of Whole Foods Market Inc., the Rashi School, the Lown Cardiovascular Foundation and the Alliance for Business Leadership. Ron is also a co-founder of No Labels, an organization that promotes bipartisan political problem solving and the development of a long-term strategic plan for the country.
Ron received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School. He is also the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Clark University. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Nancy, and children, Michael and Emma.
Blaine E. Hurst
CEO & President
Blaine Hurst is President and Chief Executive Officer of Panera, LLC. Blaine was named Chief Executive Officer of Panera effective January 1, 2018, after serving as its President since December 2016.
Blaine joined Panera in late 2010 to begin the Panera 2.0 initiative, an enhanced guest experience enabled by technology but rooted in operational integrity. In 2014, he launched Panera’s Delivery initiative. Today, considered by many to be a digital leader, Panera currently processes more than 28% of its orders digitally, with digital sales reaching nearly $1.2 billion in 2017. The company has more than 29 million members in its loyalty program, representing more than one-half of Panera’s transactions. And its omni-channel approach has led the industry, from industry-leading catering sales and sales growth to smaller-order delivery available in more than half of Panera restaurants.
Working with Panera’s founder, Blaine has helped Panera transform itself into the leading fast casual restaurant in America. The powerful themes of Panera’s transformation – integrated digital, wellness, loyalty, omni-channel experience, and new restaurant formats adapted to the ways consumers eat today – are reshaping the restaurant industry.
Blaine has been named by Fast Casual magazine as one of their Movers and Shakers for the last three years and is the author of four published patents. A frequently requested speaker, Blaine has shared his thoughts on innovation and company and personal transformation with thousands. Fast Company named Panera the No. 1 Most Innovative Company in Food in 2015 and 27th overall as a result of Panera’s 2.0 work. Panera was named as the No. 1 brand of the year by Fast Casual magazine in 2015, and Panera was named a Marketer of the Year by Ad Age magazine in 2017. Blaine has been driving Panera’s commitment to 100% Clean Food, revamping the menu to deliver “craveable wellness” and redesigning cafes and brand voice to align with Panera’s commitment to Food as it Should Be.
Prior to joining Panera, Hurst was an entrepreneur and consultant, assisting numerous restaurant, retail and distribution companies in their development and growth, including the development of Panera's strategic information systems plan. Hurst previously served as President, Restaurant Technology Solutions LLC, a division of eMac Digital. Prior to eMac, Hurst was Vice Chairman and President of Papa John's International Inc., after having held the roles Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Vice President, Information Services. As the company’s first CIO, he led the development and rollout of the restaurant industry’s first nationwide online ordering system. Earlier in his career, before joining Boston Chicken as its Vice President, Information Services, Hurst was a consulting division Partner with Ernst & Young, founding the firm's Center for Information Technology Planning and Development.
Blaine earned a Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction in Computer Science from Indiana University. He is also a proud Kentucky Colonel.
Charles J. Chapman, III
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
In November 2011, Chuck Chapman joined Panera's management team as Executive Vice President and was responsible for Business Development & Licensing, Information Services and Development. In May 2012, he was named Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for company and franchise Operations, Catering, Learning & Development, Ops Tools & Services, and Bakery functions. Prior to becoming part of the management team, he served on Panera's Board of Directors from January 2008 to November 2011.
Prior to joining Panera, Chuck worked for Dairy Queen (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway) where he was most recently its Chief Operating Officer (COO). He also worked as COO for Bruegger's Bagels Inc. and as President and co-Owner of Beantown Bagels, a Bruegger's franchise. Additionally, he held various marketing and operations positions with Darden Restaurants and began his career with the consulting firm Bain & Company.
Chuck earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from Dartmouth College and Masters of Business Administration from Amos Tuck Business School of Administration at Dartmouth College.
Executive Vice President, Sourcing, Distribution and Manufacturing
Ken Koziol oversees a range of cafe support functions in his role as Executive Vice President. Ken joined Panera in April 2015. Prior to Panera, Ken worked at McDonald’s, where he served as Executive Vice President, Worldwide Chief Restaurant Officer. While at McDonald’s, he also served in a number of other leadership roles including Innovation, Supply Chain & Quality Assurance. He also worked at Hyatt Hotels for six years where he held a variety of restaurant management and purchasing positions.
Ken received his Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University and his Master’s degree in business administration from Northern Illinois University.
Scott G. Blair
Senior Vice President, Chief Legal and Franchise Officer
Scott Blair joined Panera Bread in January 2003 as Special Counsel for Employee Relations. In January 2008, Scott became Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel with responsibility for all legal functions within Panera, including risk management, intellectual property and litigation, and dotted-line oversight of internal audit. In July 2014, Scott also assumed responsibilities for franchise leadership while retaining his oversight of the legal functions and was named Senior Vice President & Chief Legal and Franchise Officer.
Scott previously served as a partner in the Boston law firm Stoneman, Chandler & Miller, where he represented a range of clients before the National Labor Relations Board, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor and numerous other state and federal agencies. Scott started representing Panera and Au Bon Pain in 1984.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Williams College and a Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School.
Michael J. Bufano
Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Mike Bufano has served as Chief Financial Officer since April 2015. In this role, he is responsible for Panera’s finance, accounting and investor relations departments. Mike previously served as Senior Vice President of Planning and was responsible for financial planning and forecasting, as well as business analysis. Previously, he served as Vice President of Planning from July 2010 to August 2014.
Prior to joining Panera, Mike spent nine years at PepsiCo in various strategy, financial planning and business analysis roles for the company’s soft drink and bottle water business. In addition, Mike helped build the sales strategy and analysis function supporting the teams selling to PepsiCo’s largest retail partners. He also served as the head of Financial Planning & Analysis for Americas Beverages, including North and Latin America. Prior to PepsiCo, Mike worked for Accenture, consulting for clients in the telecommunications, banking, and pharmaceutical industries.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of Chicago and a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School of Business.
Vice President, People Ops
Jaynanne leads Panera’s human resources organization that supports Panera’s bakery cafes, fresh dough facilities and support centers.
She joined Panera as a Human Resources Manager in 2003, and served in a number of different capacities including Director, Human Resources; Director, Organizational Development; Director, Human Resources, Organizational Development and Culture. In 2012, Jaynanne was promoted to Vice President of Retail Human Resources where she led all people initiatives and activities to support retail, bakery, catering, and delivery operations. In 2015 Jaynanne took on the role as Vice President, Total Rewards leading system-wide strategies and execution of compensation and benefit programs, as well as HR technology and HR projects. In 2016 she took on the role of Vice President, People Ops.
Jaynanne received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Finance and International Relations, summa cum laude, from Illinois Wesleyan University, and her Master’s in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois.
Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Steve Cirulis joined Panera in April 2017 as Senior Vice President, Strategy, to drive growth in key businesses, initially focusing on the drive-thru and to-go businesses, as well as all non-peak dayparts.
Steve most recently served as the Global Vice President of Corporate Strategy for McDonald’s Corp. While there, he was responsible for helping lead the strategic direction of the company. This included activating growth in new channels and categories, and identifying performance improvement opportunities. Prior to that, he was Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development at Gap Inc. in San Francisco, where he led both the strategy and insights functions for the company's namesake brand. In that role, he led teams in re-launching Gap’s denim business and entering new accessories categories. He was also an Associate Partner at Prophet, a global brand and marketing consultancy.
Steve earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University.
Senior Vice President, Company Operations
Rich Crannick joined Panera in 2001 as Area Director in Detroit and then St. Louis. In 2007, he was promoted to Regional Vice President of Midwest/South regions. Rich took on the leadership for the Operations Services function in 2011, which included responsibility for the systems, processes and tools our bakery-cafes use to effectively deliver the customer experience, and in November 2014 was promoted to Senior Vice President, Operations Services. In April 2016, he moved into the role of Senior Vice President, Company Operations. In this role, Rich oversees operations for a network of U.S. markets.
Prior to Panera, Rich spent 12 years with Darden Restaurant’s Olive Garden as Director of Operations. He also served as Director of Operations for KC Masterpiece BBQ & Grill.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary
Lou DiPietro has been at Panera since June 2006. He was appointed Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary in November 2014. In this role, he oversees the company’s legal affairs including securities regulation, corporate governance, franchising, licensing, contracts and compliance. Lou also supports Panera’s board of directors.
Prior to joining Panera, Lou held a variety of in house and law firm positions focusing on corporate, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions and securities law. In addition to his work at Panera, he is also the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cardinal Spellman High School located in Brockton, Massachusetts. Lou received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Boston College and is a cum laude graduate of Boston College Law School.
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Chris Hollander joined Panera in 2010 as Vice President, Marketing. In December 2014, he assumed the role of head of Marketing and then in January 2016, he was promoted to Senior Vice President, Marketing. His primary responsibility is overseeing all marketing activities for Panera Bread including brand strategy, traditional advertising, digital communication (both paid and earned), public relations, in-cafe point-of-purchase materials, customer engagement marketing, loyalty, gift card and field marketing. Chris oversees a team of 60 associates, located primarily in Boston and St Louis.
Prior to Panera, Chris spent 11 years in various Brand Management positions at Pepsi Cola, working on some of their highest-profile brands and initiatives, including stints on Mountain Dew, the Pepsi Lipton Joint Venture Partnership and the Brand Pepsi portfolio. Prior to Pepsi, Chris worked at Interactive Sports, an innovative start-up company focused on bringing digital technology to the sports marketplace.
Chris earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Senior Vice President, Retail Support Services
Kathie leads Panera’s Retail Support Services, overseeing the systems and support that enable our cafes to deliver the highest quality customer experience. Kathie joined Panera with more than 30 years of experience in a variety of industries, and a record of leading high-performing teams that deliver results. Her most recent role was as Chief Operating Officer at Flex Pharma where she led Business Operations, Human Resources and Supply Chain.
Her prior experience includes Chief Operating Officer at DAVIDs TEA, Principal at KGL Consulting, and Senior Vice President, Store Operations at Savers, Inc. (Value Village). The bulk of Kathie’s career was at Starbucks, where she began as a Store Manager. Throughout her nearly 20 years with the company, she took on increasingly greater leadership responsibilities in North America and was a co-founder of Starbucks International. Kathie’s last role at the company was Senior Vice President, Starbucks Foodservice.
John M. Meister
Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer
John Meister joined Panera Bread in June 2013 as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. John is responsible for all information technology initiatives at Panera.
Prior to joining Panera, John worked for MasterCard Worldwide. In his 15 years at MasterCard, some of John’s responsibilities included the global Authorization system, the analytics platforms within the enterprise data warehouse, and a mobile phone card authentication platform. Prior to MasterCard, John was with Accenture, where he oversaw a number of major corporate accounts.
John earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Senior Vice President, Company Operations
Pat Mellor has served as Senior Vice President, Company Operations since October 2014. In this role, he oversees operations for a network of U.S. markets. Pat joined Panera in 2001 as a District Manager in St. Louis. He was promoted to Joint Venture Partner in Nashville in 2004 and Joint Venture Area Director in Chicago in 2007. Pat served as Vice President, Regional Company Operations from January 2011 to September 2014.
Prior to joining Panera, Pat spent 15 years in various operation roles at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.
Senior Vice President, Learning & Development
Scott leads Panera’s Learning & Development team who are responsible for the instructional design, field training and associate communications that support the ongoing training and development of associates throughout Panera.
Scott most recently served as Chief Learning Officer at Farmers Insurance where he managed the University of Farmer’s business unit. While in this role, he led a full organizational redesign to modernize the university operations and delivery model. Prior to that, he held a variety of roles focused on learning and organizational development, including Chief Talent Officer at Farmers Insurance; Vice President, Learning and Development at Warner Bros. Entertainment; and Vice President, Organization Development and Training at Fox Networks Group. In addition to his corporate experience, Scott has been a college professor at seven different California colleges and coached competitive debate.
President, Au Bon Pain
Sue Morelli is the President of Au Bon Pain, a bakery café restaurant chain headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with almost 300 locations in urban office buildings, hospitals, museums, airports, train stations, universities and shopping malls in the United States and abroad. Panera acquired Au Bon Pain in December 2017.
Sue joined Au Bon Pain in 1988 and was appointed Interim President in 2005 and President and CEO in 2006. She retired in July 2016, but rejoined in January 2018 with the Panera buyout. Under her leadership the company has focused its menu on healthful, balanced eating, earning recognition as #1 Healthiest Restaurant by Grellin and as one of the “healthiest restaurants in America” by Health Magazine. Sue led the company’s accelerated growth into highly visible, densely populated, non-traditional domestic real estate including hospitals, universities and transportation centers, while also supporting successful international franchise expansion in Thailand.
Prior to 2006, Sue had responsibility for a myriad of disciplines including Marketing, Catering, Human Resources-Senior Recruiting, Concept Strategy, Special Projects, Corporate Communications, Corporate Development (M&A) and Institutional Sales.
Prior to joining Au Bon Pain, Sue spent four years in marketing and general management roles with American Cablesystems, a successful cable television startup that went public and was subsequently acquired by Continental Cablevision.
Sue earned a BA in Economics from Yale University in 1981 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1984. Between Yale and Harvard, she worked for Bain & Company, a leading management consulting firm.
She has served on the Boards of Wide Horizons for Children, an adoption agency in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Babyzone.com, an internet business that is now part of Disney. Sue currently serves on the Board of Directors for Legal Sea Foods and as an Advisor to Anagenesis Capital Partners.
Vice President, Organizational Development
Kim’s role focusses on senior-level recruiting and organizational development as a part of Panera’s overall people vision. Kim brings to Panera extensive experience in leading large organizations and their people through change.
Kim previously served as Executive Vice President, Global Chief People Officer at Monster Worldwide Inc., where she created a strategy to ensure the company had the people and organizational capabilities to achieve its long-term goals. Prior to that role, she served as Vice President, Human Resources for Monster’s Global Operating Functions. Kim’s previous experience also includes Senior Director, Human Resources at Microsoft, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Training at Boston Financial Data Services and as Regional Vice President, Human Resources and Training at Cox Communications.
Senior Vice President, Cafe Strategy, Insights & Analytics
Rob Passanisi joined Panera Bread in August 2010 as a senior leader on the Planning team. He was promoted in 2012 to Vice President, Customer Engagement Marketing, where he led the MyPanera loyalty team and the Customer Resource Group. In October 2014, Rob was promoted to Senior Vice President, Cafe Strategy, Insights & Analytics. In this role he oversees the Panera bakery-cafe strategy function, including Category Management and Consumer Insights.
Prior to joining Panera, Rob was the Director of Commercial Operations and Planning at Biogen Idec. He also served as a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Rob began his career as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.
Rob earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration from The Yale School of Management.
William H. Simpson, Jr.
Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer
Hank Simpson has spent 14 years with Panera and served as Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer since September 2015 and is responsible for formulating and executing Panera’s development efforts along with leading the construction and design, real estate and real estate strategy teams.
Hank joined Panera Bread in 2002 as Director, Retail Operations and Joint Venture Partner. In February 2005, he was promoted to Vice President, Retail Operations, then in April 2006, Hank was promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Company and Joint Venture Operations Officer. From May 2012 until October 2013, Hank served as Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer and Chief Franchise Officer. From October 2012 until September 2014, Hank served as our Senior Vice President, Chief Franchise Officer. Hank returned to Panera in April 2015 as Senior Vice President, after serving as Chief Operating Officer for Pizza Studio.
Previously, Hank was Vice President, Franchise Operations and Regional Vice President of Company Operations for Bennigan's Restaurants. He also served as Director, Human Resources for On the Border restaurants.
Hank attended the University of Central Florida.
Senior Vice President, Voice & Customer Experience
Bill Sleeth joined Panera in March 2017 as Senior Vice President, Voice and Customer Experience. In this role, Bill is responsible for leading design and voice creative across all cafe and brand touchpoints.
Prior to joining Panera, Bill worked at Starbucks as Vice President, Design, where he led the Americas design organization and oversaw concept innovation and design for the company’s largest portfolio of company and licensed stores. During his tenure, Bill led the transformation of Starbucks into a brand known for creating unique, locally relevant store designs. Prior to that, Bill was the Vice President of Brand for Potbelly Sandwich Works, where he led the creative teams responsible for store design, branding, advertising and in-store marketing. Earlier in his career, Bill held leadership roles in a variety of creative fields, including architecture, television, and his own creative agency, Vizwerks, based in Portland, Ore.
Bill earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon.
Bryan C. Timko
Senior Vice President, Menu Innovation Projects
Bryan Timko joined Panera in January 2014 as Senior Vice President, Cafe Strategy, playing a key role in the development and execution of strategy to support the growth of the company. In May 2014, Bryan was promoted to Senior Vice President, Menu Innovation Projects. In this role, Bryan is responsible for leading the development of food, beverage, bakery, and environmental initiatives.
Prior to joining Panera, Bryan worked at Staples, Inc., where he most recently served as Vice President, New Business Development. In this role, Bryan led a team charged with developing new product categories, re-inventing existing businesses, and creating new business models for the retailer. Bryan also served as Vice President/General Merchandise Manager, U.S. Retail and Staples.com, for a number of businesses across the merchandising product portfolio. He also served as Vice President/Divisional Merchandise Manager, and as Director, Portfolio Growth and Innovation, at Staples. Prior to Staples, he was a Principal at Alliance Consulting Group and also worked at Booz Allen Hamilton and Capital One.
Bryan earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Management from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Daniel A. Wegiel
Senior Vice President, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer
Dan Wegiel has served as our Senior Vice President of Panera to You since March 2014. In this role, he is responsible for Panera’s delivery business, including both large-order and small-order delivery sales & operations. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives from October 2013 to March 2014.
Prior to joining Panera, Dan held various roles at Staples, Inc. over 13 years. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President of New Business Development, charged with developing new product categories, re-inventing existing businesses and creating new business models for the retailer. Prior to that role, Dan spent several years in merchandising leading Staples’ largest business lines in both Technology and Office Supplies. He also served in a variety of roles in Store Management, Retail Operations, Supply Chain & Distribution and Corporate Strategy. Prior to Staples, Dan was a strategy consultant to clients in the consumer products, technology and financial services industries.
Dan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Tufts University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy with a concentration in International Business from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.