Focus Brands announced that Kat Cole, chief operating officer and president, has decided to leave the company. Cole will continue in her capacity at the company until her departure, which is expected at the end of the year.
“Focus Brands has seen a strategic transformation in the ten years Kat has been with the company,” said Jim Holthouser, who joined Focus Brands as CEO in February. “In my time as CEO, we’ve managed through unprecedented times in our industry and Kat’s leadership and knowledge have helped us pave the way for an exciting 2021 and beyond. She has built a deep bench of diverse leaders and has helped to position the company and its brands for continued future growth. I am grateful for her partnership and wish her the best as she moves to this next chapter.”
Cole joined Focus Brands in 2010 as the president of Cinnabon where she led the turnaround of the franchise business and growth of the global, multi-channel retail brand to more than $1 billion in global branded product sales. In 2017, she was named COO and president, North America for Focus Brands, where she was involved in various brand management, franchising and licensing operations for the company. She has impacted the industry beyond the company through her work and leadership with various restaurant associations, the Women’s Foodservice Forum and more.
In the immediate future, she will continue her extensive board and advisory work in various industries, including wellness and food technology, while also continuing her speaking, mentoring, start-up investing and community impact work.
“Spending the last decade working with iconic brands and exceptional teams and franchisees, while learning from dynamic CEOs, as well as the company’s owners, has been a great privilege,” said Cole. “With the growth we have experienced and the incredible leaders we have put in place, there is no better time to make the transition to my next chapter. I couldn’t be more excited about the direction of Focus Brands or prouder of the great teams that will carry on and pursue our vision of continued expansion.”
Atlanta-based Focus Brands is is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants under the brand names Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee on certain military bases and in certain international markets.