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Based in Atlanta with $1.5 billion of equity capital under management, Roark Capital has purchased 14 franchise brands with more than 13,500 points of distribution in 50 states and 33 countries. Affiliates of Roark Capital own a majority interest in FOCUS Brands.
“Steve and I have been friends and partners for over 12 years,” says Neal Aronson, Roark founder and managing partner. “Steve will meaningfully enhance our ability to partner with and build outstanding franchise companies, and his leadership at Roark would not have been a possibility unless we found the perfect person to take FOCUS Brands into the future. Russ’ experience, energy and enthusiasm, coupled with the utmost integrity, make this a win-win for all.”
“We were looking for a leader with a proven track record of success who could intimately relate to all FOCUS Brands constituents,” says Steve Romaniello. “Franchisees will benefit from Russ’ experience as an entrepreneur and franchisee; our owners will benefit from his expertise in strategically and profitably growing an organization; and our associates will benefit from Russ’ strong culture advocacy and his unwavering commitment to developing people.”
With more than 40 years in the restaurant business, Russ began his career as a part-time counter person at an Arby’s restaurant in 1967, and became the founder and CEO of Atlanta-based RTM (Results Through Motivation) Restaurant Group in 1973. Growing his company from 11 Arby’s restaurants into one of the largest restaurant companies in the country with 870 locations in 22 states across several different concepts, RTM was sold in July 2005 to Triarc Companies, Inc. (Arby’s Restaurant Group).
At the time of the sale, RTM was Arby’s largest franchisee with 775 restaurants and 25,000 employees generating revenues of more than $900 million.