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Panera Bread appoints Blaine Hurst as president

Blaine HurstPanera Bread Company, a chain of bakery-café fast casual restaurants, named company veteran Blaine Hurst president following the resignation of Drew Madsen for personal reasons.

Mr. Hurst has been with Panera since 2010 and has held a number of senior leadership positions, most recently as Executive Vice President – Chief Transformation and Growth Officer.

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During his multiyear tenure at Panera, Mr. Hurst 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 has also successfully led major innovation projects impacting the retail cafe business.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Hurst was Vice Chairman and President at Papa John’s International; President – Restaurant Technology Solutions at eMac Digital, an enterprise backed by McDonald’s, Accel Partners and KKR & Co.; and Vice President – Information Services at Boston Chicken.

Mr. Hurst has also been both an entrepreneur and independent consultant, assisting many restaurant, retail and distribution companies in their development and growth.

Mr. Madsen joined Panera Bread in May, 2015 as President. He briefly served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Before that, Mr. Madsen was President and Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for Darden Restaurants.

He also served as President of Olive Garden and Executive Vice President of Marketing for Olive Garden. He began his career in brand management at General Mills.

Mr. Madsen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from DePauw University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also holds an MBA with Distinction from The University of Michigan.

He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.


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