Industry News | August 19, 2003

Cosi Announces Management Changes

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In further changes at Cosi (NASDAQ: COSI), the company yesterday announced the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Betuker and replacement with outside consultant Mark Stickney.

The chain of unique quick-casual restaurants has been struggling under the weight of fast growth, profit losses, under-performing stores, executive management changes, and a plummeting stock price. The appointment of Stickney is part of continuing efforts to right the ship.

“As we work diligently to improve operations and implement a long-term strategic plan for growth, we felt it was a good time to transition leadership in our finance department. Mark offers a background suited to recovery and retail restaurants and while he has worked as a consultant he has contributed substantially to the development of the company's operational recovery plan and we look forward to his future contributions," said Executive Chairman Bill Forrest.

Stickney comes to Cosi from his role as president of Spinglass Management, a corporate turnaround consultancy, after working with the chain in a consulting capacity since April of this year. A CPA, Stickney began his career at KPMG and has previously served as CFO at Geiger Brothers, a $140 million diversified manufacturer and distributor, and at Enterix, a biotechnology company.

In other changes, founder and former interim president and CEO Jay Wainwright has been appointed vice president of concept development and has resigned from the company Board. President and CEO Kevin Armstrong noted Wainwright’s entrepreneurial vision as a benefit to the new position.

Persistent problems at Cosi have led to almost constant changes in management this year. Armstrong is the third CEO behind Andy Stenzler, who resigned in a mutual agreement in January amidst a major shift in growth strategy, and Wainwright who served in an interim capacity before Armstrong. Board member Eric Gleacher of Gleacher Partners took over the chairmanship from Stenzler which was subsequently passed to Bill Forrest in April.