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Panera Bread poaches COO from Krispy Kreme

By Christian Wylonis
Panera Bread
Image credit: Panera Bread

Niren Chaudhary has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Panera Bread, succeeding Blaine Hurst who is retiring from his current role as CEO effective May 23, 2019. Chaudhary joins Panera from Krispy Kreme, where he has been the Chief Operating Officer and President of Krispy Kreme International since 2017.

Hurst will remain on the Board of Panera and become Vice Chairman, and will work alongside Chaudhary after he joins the Company in early May to help ensure a smooth transition into his new role. In a statement, Hurst said: "While it has been a difficult decision for me to retire, I am confident that Panera will be well-positioned for continued long-term success with Niren taking on the role of CEO. He has a proven track record of successfully growing brands in many markets around the globe while also being highly focused on culture and people, and I am as excited about Panera's future today as I was when I started working with the company nearly nine years ago."

Chaudhary previously spent 23 years with Yum! Brands in a variety of executive positions. He has more than 25 years of international corporate leadership experience in the food retail and hospitality industry, and brings broad experience in building brands and driving value through long-term growth.