Richmond Heights / MO. (pbc) Panera Bread Company has announced that Chief Executive Officer Ron Shaich will become Executive Chairman of the Board at the adjournment of the Company´s next annual meeting – expected to occur in May 2010.
At the conclusion of this transition, Shaich will continue to devote a significant amount of time to Panera as Executive Chairman of the Board. He will continue advising on strategic issues, providing advice and support to the company´s key leaders and mentoring marketing and concept initiatives. Shaich will also take on key projects for the Company.
Shaich co-founded Panera 28 years ago under its original name Au Bon Pain Company Incorporated. The Company has been publicly traded since June 1991 and was renamed Panera Bread in May 1999. Since going public eighteen years ago, the Company´s stock price has increased 13-fold. Panera has been the best performing restaurant stock in the Russell 1’000 over the past decade (as of November 16, 2009) and its stock has performed among the top one percent of all companies in the Russell 1’000 for the same ten year period.
Bill Moreton to Become President, CEO and Board Member
Panera Bread Company has announced that Bill Moreton, the Company´s Executive Vice President and co-Chief Operating Officer, will become President and CEO and a member of the Board of Directors effective at the adjournment of the Company´s next annual meeting in May 2010.
Moreton has had over a ten year relationship with the Company. From 1998 to 2003, Moreton served as Panera Bread´s Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. He then rejoined Panera in November of 2008 as Panera´s Executive Vice President and co-Chief Operating Officer.
Prior to re-joining Panera, Moreton served as President and Chief Financial Officer of Potbelly Sandwich Works. He also previously served as Executive Vice President, Subsidiary Brand Management and Chief Executive officer of the Baja Fresh subsidiary for Wendy´s, where he assisted with strategy and growth of developing brands.
600 Million USD Share Repurchase Program
The Company also announced that its Board of Directors had approved a three year share repurchase program of up to 600 million USD. The repurchases may commence as soon as November 20, 2009, and will be effected from time to time on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions and may make such repurchases under a Rule 10b5-1 Plan. The share repurchase program and the Board´s authorization of the program may be modified, suspended, or discontinued at any time.