Industry News | October 25, 2012

MOD Pizza Bakes Up New CEO

MOD Pizza, founded by Scott and Ally Svenson, announced that Scott Svenson will become CEO of the fast-casual chain.

The company, which pioneered the concept of fast-casual pizza with the opening of its first store in 2008, currently operates from eight locations in the Seattle area.

Svenson will take the helm effective immediately and focus on accelerating the company's growth, with plans to double the number of stores in 2013.

"When we entered the market in 2008, we were the first to bring together the best of made-on-demand, individualized pizzas with the convenience and value associated with fast-casual dining,” Svenson says.

“Over the past five years, we have thoughtfully grown the company with the goal of creating a unique customer experience and scalable brand that we can expand across the country,” he adds. “Following the incredible success of our most recent store openings, I feel now is the time to accelerate our growth via a combination of company-owned and franchised stores. I couldn't be more excited about the opportunities ahead for MOD.”

A Seattle native and a graduate of Harvard University, Svenson spent 11 years (from 1988–1999) living and working in London.

Svenson advised high-growth, middle-market companies at Drexel, Burnham Lambert (in New York and subsequently London), and Apax Partners & Co (London), and was deputy CEO of CrestaCare plc, the third-largest long-term healthcare provider in the U.K.

In 1994, Svenson and his wife Ally cofounded Seattle Coffee Company in London, growing the brand to 65 company-owned stores in three years, while introducing England to the world of made-to-order espresso drinks and the coffee bar culture.

In 1998, Starbucks Coffee Company acquired Seattle Coffee Company as its entry into the European market.

Svenson assumed the role of president of Starbucks UK, and subsequently president of Starbucks Europe, during which time he helped author the company's European Strategic Plan.

In 1999, Svenson and his wife helped to develop and launch Carluccio's in the U.K., an award-winning Italian deli-cafe concept, which went public on the AIM market in 2005 and was subsequently sold in 2010.

Svenson, who for the past three years has been the CEO of Freestone Capital Management, the largest independent wealth and asset management firm in the Seattle market focused exclusively on the needs of affluent families, recently sold a controlling interest in Freestone to its management team in order to free up his time to focus on building MOD.

Jim Alling, MOD advisory board member, former president of Starbucks North America and Starbucks International, and current COO of T-Mobile, says, "Scott understands how to grow a business quickly. At the same time, he knows how to build a culture that will protect the soul of the business and the entrepreneurial spirit of the team. I look forward to watching MOD Pizza flourish under his leadership."