Deerfield / IL. (cosi) Cosi Inc., the fast casual restaurant company, announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Executive Chairman of the Board Stephen Edwards, 50, as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Company following the resignation of Carin Stutz, 56. Stutz has resigned as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Company and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately, to pursue other opportunities. «On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Carin for her service to Cosi», said Edwards. «We wish Carin well in her future endeavours».
In appointing the new CEO, the Board of Directors emphasized that the Company´s first priority must be to shrink its cost structure, limit its need for capital investment and become a profitable business. At the same time, Cosi must adopt a strategy for rejuvenation and growth. To that end, Edwards will lead Cosi´s efforts to evaluate its existing portfolio of restaurants to identify re-franchising opportunities with new and existing franchisees as part of its overall effort to accelerate franchise growth.
«Our franchise partners have proven that they can operate successful restaurants under our brand», stated Edwards. «Our focus will be to give these partners and other entrepreneurs like them the tools they need to grow the Cosi system». Edwards will also lead the initiative already underway to exit a number of under-performing locations. Finally, as part of the restructuring effort, Cosi implemented reductions in its administrative workforce today that will result in an annual savings of approximately $1.0 million. «Cosi is a great brand», said Edwards. «Our mission is to create a business model that builds on the strength of our brand while generating profits for our shareholders. And to do so quickly».
Cosi Inc. is a national fast casual restaurant chain that has developed featured foods built around a secret, generations-old recipe for crackly crust flatbread. This artisan bread is freshly baked in front of customers throughout the day in open-flame stone-hearth ovens prominently located in each of the restaurants. Cosi´s warm and urbane atmosphere is geared towards its sophisticated, upscale, urban and suburban guests. There are currently 74 Company-owned and 50 franchise restaurants operating in sixteen states, the District of Columbia and the United Arab Emirates.