Ronald M. Shaich
Founder, Chairman & CEO of Panera Bread
Ron Shaich is founder, chairman and CEO of Panera Bread, a groundbreaking restaurant brand that today has more than 2,040 bakery-cafes, 100,000 associates and more than $5 billion in annual systemwide sales. 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 companies he disrupted an existing industry paradigm and found new pathways to building companies of value and with values. The result: Panera is the best-performing restaurant stock when measured over the last 20 years, delivering a total shareholder return of 9,753% from April 18, 1997 to April 24, 2017, compared to 210% for the S&P 500 during the same time period. Indeed, Panera’s stock has generated annualized returns of 26% in the same time frame.
Over the last five years, Ron has developed and executed a powerful strategic plan to make Panera a better competitive alternative with expanded runways for growth. The strategy tapped into powerful themes that are shaping the restaurant industry and are only now being adopted by competitors, including digital, wellness, loyalty, omni-channel and new formats for growth. At the end of Q1 2017, 26% of Panera’s sales were digital – an industry-leading figure bested only by the big three pizza players. Panera was the first and only national restaurant chain with a menu free of artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources. Its loyalty program was the largest in the industry at 25 million members with half of transactions made through the program. And its omni-channel approach led the industry, with delivery available in 24% of the system and catering sales growing 11%.
Ron has been recognized repeatedly for his visionary leadership. Earlier this year, he was named the second most influential leader in the restaurant industry by Nation's Restaurant News in its 2017 Power List. He was also awarded 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 a national finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.
Under Ron’s leadership, Panera has also garnered numerous honors through the years. Among them, Panera has been named one of “The World’s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine for the past five years. Institutional Investor named Panera’s leadership to its 2016 All-American Executive Team. And Fast Company named Panera the No. 1 Most Innovative Company in Food in 2015.
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 sits on the board of Whole Foods Market Inc., and formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University and on the boards of 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
Blaine E. Hurst joined Panera in 2010 to work on the development of Panera 2.0. He was named Executive Vice President of Technology and Transformation in May 2013, and EVP – Chief Transformation and Growth Officer in October 2014. During his multiyear tenure at Panera, Blaine has been, at various times, the senior executive responsible for oversight of a range of functions, including manufacturing, supply chain, information technology, digital, human resources and consumer packaged goods. He now oversees innovation in Panera’s core cafe business, an area he has also helped lead over the years.
Earlier in his career, Hurst was Vice Chairman and President at Papa John’s International Inc.; President – Restaurant Technology Solutions at eMac Digital LLC, an enterprise backed by McDonald’s, Accel Partners and KKR & Co.; and Vice President – Information Services at Boston Chicken. He has also been both an entrepreneur and independent consultant, assisting many restaurant, retail and distribution companies in their development and growth.
Blaine earned a Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction in Computer Science from Indiana University.
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.
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.
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, 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, Panera to You
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.
In Memory: 1953-2017
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mark Borland on Feb. 12, 2017. Mark was a beloved member of the Panera family, who touched us all with his zest for life and his love for Panera. During more than 30 years with Panera, Mark held a variety of positions, including Chief Company Cafe Operations Officer and later Chief Manufacturing and Chief Supply Chain Officer. He helped to architect and build our FDF and purchasing systems, and negotiated many of our major vendor agreements.
While these accomplishments were notable, Mark will be most remembered for his humanity. He loved his colleagues and was a friend and mentor to many. He always put others first – even throughout his long illness. While our loss is profound, we are grateful for the many years we had to laugh and learn together. Mark inspired everyone at Panera to tackle challenges with optimism, competence, integrity and commitment. In tribute to him, we will bring those same ideals to our work going forward.