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Panera Bread taps Krispy Kreme exec Chaudhary as new CEO

Panera Bread taps Krispy Kreme exec Chaudhary as new CEO

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Panera Bread Co. has hired Niren Chaudhary as its new president and CEO, replacing CEO Blaine Hurst, who is retiring.

Sunset Hills-based Panera Bread, which operates locally as Saint Louis Bread Co., said Hurst’s retirement was effective May 23. Hurst will remain on Panera’s board of directors as vice chairman and Chaudhary will join the company next month.

Chaudhary has been chief operating officer and president of Krispy Kreme International since 2017, and he previously spent more than two decades with Yum! Brands in executive roles.

Panera was acquired by JAB Holding Co., the owner of Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, in 2017. Panera operates 2,300 restaurants and has nearly $6 billion in system-wide sales.

“Niren is a recognized industry leader with an impressive track record of establishing brands and leading companies to achieve growth in markets around the world,” Oliver Goudet, Panera chairman and JAB managing Partner and CEO, said in a statement.

“He is passionate about serving the people he works with as well as his customers, and has shown a keen ability to develop growth strategies that appeal to consumer needs no matter where they reside. These qualities make him perfectly suited to lead Panera into the next phase of global growth in the U.S. and abroad, while maintaining its mission of doing good in the world and serving food as it should be.”

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