Cosi Inc.: Names new Chief Executive Officer

Deerfield / IL. (ci) Cosi Inc., with own words the premium convenience restaurant company, announced the appointment of Carin L. Stutz as the company´s new Chief Executive Officer and President beginning January 01. She also will join the Cosi Board of Directors.

«Carin is a proven leader with deep operational, marketing and business development experience», said Michael O´Donnell, CEO of Ruth´s Hospitality Group and a member of the Cosi board and search committee. «She is a respected leader with a track record of innovative strategic brand building, and an impressive record of accomplishment, having held leadership positions at several of our industry´s leading companies. Her energetic leadership and broad perspective will drive our company forward».

Stutz (55) joins Cosi from full-service restaurant leader Brinker International Inc. where she was President of Global Business Development, leading all aspects of franchise development and operations for 240 Chili´s and Maggiano´s restaurants around the globe. Prior to joining Brinker, Stutz was Executive Vice President of Operations for Applebee´s International. She oversaw more than 1’900 company-owned and franchise restaurants in 49 U.S. states. Prior to Applebee´s, she was the Pacific Division Vice President for Wendy´s International; served as Regional Operations Vice President for Sodexo U.S.A., and was Vice President of Corporate Operations for NutriSystem Inc.

Stutz holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Mid America Nazarene University. She is the Chair of the Women´s Foodservice Forum, a leading organization in the food service industry dedicated to developing gender-diverse leadership talent.

«I am thrilled at the opportunity to lead this talented management team and help build a great future for the Cosi brand, our employees, franchise owners, and all who invest in our success», said Stutz. «My mission is to energize the Cosi brand and the guest experience».

In conjunction with the appointment of the new CEO, the company announced that Board of Directors member Stephen F. Edwards assumes the role of Executive Chair on January 01. Edwards will work with the company´s management team to refine the long-term strategic plan, explore opportunities to raise capital and communicate with various external constituencies, and will serve as a liaison between management and the Board. «On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Mark Demilio for his leadership as interim CEO through this transition and look forward to continuing to work with him as a member of the Board of Directors», said Edwards.

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 80 Company-owned and 57 franchise restaurants operating in 17 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the United Arab Emirates.