Former Wendy's president selected to lead Sbarro

March 28, 2013

Sbarro announced today that current Board Chairman J. David Karam has assumed the additional duties of CEO. He replaces Jim Greco, who resigned from the company to pursue other business interests, according to a news release.

Greco joined the Melville, N.Y.-based Sbarro Inc. just over a year ago as part of the company's turnaround bid following Chapter 11 reorganization. At the same time Greco joined Sbarro, Karam was named as its new chairman.

"Sbarro has a great heritage with a legacy of innovation and this is a company that has significant opportunity for further growth," Karam said. "Guest service, menu development, food quality and operational excellence will remain at the core of our focus as we continue the revitalization of the Sbarro brand."

Karam had previously served as president of Wendy's International from 2008 through 2011. Under his leadership, Wendy's rose to become the second largest QSR Hamburger chain in the U.S., surpassing Burger King for the first time in Wendy's 42-plus-year history.

Prior to joining Wendy's in 2008, Karam was president of Cedar Enterprises, a Wendy's franchisee, operating 150 Wendy's restaurants in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Hartford, Conn., and Seattle.

While a franchise owner, Karam was recognized with the R. David Thomas Founders Award and the Diamond Award National Marketer of the Year. He also was recently inducted into Wendy's Hall of Fame. Karam has a degree in accounting from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Owner President Management program at Harvard Business School.

Greco's changes

Once named as CEO, Greco immediately implemented a strategy to become the "pre-eminent fast casual brand worldwide." Under his leadership, Sbarro introduced a new Neapolitan-style pizza recipe, as well as a "Skinny Slice" offering. The company also began testing a new restaurant prototype with made-to-order pasta stations and open-flame ovens.

In August, Sbarro reported that initial sales at the prototypes were up more than 10 percent compared to traditional models.

Prior to joining Sbarro, Greco served as CEO of Bruegger's until the company was acquired by Groupe Le Duff SA in 2011. He partnered with Sun Capital to acquire Bruegger's in 2003.

Sbarro has more than 1,000 restaurants in more than 40 countries.

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