FOCUS Brands, the parent company of Cinnabon and Moe’s Southwest Grill, announced Thursday that Jim Holthouser will become its next CEO.
Holthouser joins FOCUS after serving as executive vice president of global brands, marketing, and loyalty at Hilton Worldwide, where he was responsible for Hilton’s portfolio of 13 brands comprised of 5,000 hotels across 105 countries, generating $36 billion in revenue. He’s spent more than 20 years in various strategic and brand management roles while at Hilton. Holthouser directed worldwide brand marketing; product and brand development; owner relations; and the 75 million-member Hilton Honors guest loyalty program. Additionally, he launched five new hotel brands and instituted high-impact digital innovations and apps system-wide, the company said.
“FOCUS Brands is an outstanding company, recognized globally for its iconic brands, and I am pleased to take on this role at such an exciting time in the company’s history,” Holthouser said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the FOCUS Brands team, franchisees, and suppliers to continue growing our leading foodservices concepts, enhancing our customers’ experience and delivering value to all of our partners.”
FOCUS is backed by Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm that also funds Inspire Brands, parent Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby’s, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s, and Rusty Taco. Similar to Holthouser, Inspire CEO Paul Brown spent time at Hilton Worldwide as president of brands and commercial services.
Atlanta-based FOCUS also oversees Jamba Juice, Schlotzky’s, and McAlister’s Deli. The company operates more than 6,000 stores across the U.S. and more than 50 countries.
“Jim is a results-oriented leader with a demonstrated history of partnering with team members and franchisees to drive results,” said Steve Romaniello, FOCUS Brands board chairman, in a statement. “His track record of managing multi-branded portfolios and growing brands is impressive and gives us great confidence that he is ideally suited to lead FOCUS Brands in its next phase of growth. We thank Steve for his leadership and service over the past six years and look forward to welcoming Jim to the FOCUS Brands family.”
Holthouser replaces Steve DeSutter, who is retiring as CEO after nearly six years.
“It has been a great pleasure to serve as CEO of FOCUS Brands over the past six years and I am confident that the business is positioned for continued growth with Jim at the helm,” DeSutter said in a statement. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Jim and he has impressed me with his passion for the brands, hospitality and franchising. While it’s always bittersweet to close the door on one chapter, I am very much looking forward to continuing to watch the business grow from my seat in retirement.”