Highly regarded restaurant industry executive Jon Luther was elected the 18th chairman of the board of The Culinary Institute of America during board meetings at the college's New York campus on October 7. He succeeds chef and hospitality entrepreneur Charlie Palmer, a 1979 CIA graduate, in this important and distinguished position.
"Jon Luther has had incontrovertible success in the industry, as illustrated by the revitalization and dramatic expansion of Dunkin' Donuts under his leadership," CIA president Dr. Tim Ryan says. "Along with the entire CIA team, I look forward to working with Jon. He will play an important role in building the CIA of the future."
Luther was CEO of Dunkin' Brands—the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins—from 2003 until 2009, and its chairman from 2006 to 2013. Under his leadership, Dunkin' Donuts went from a regionally known chain to a worldwide powerhouse. He also re-energized its marketing initiatives by launching the award-winning "America Runs on Dunkin'" campaign and transformed the menu beyond donuts, bringing in award-winning chefs, including several CIA graduates.
In the past few years, Mr. Luther has served as chairman of Arby's Restaurant Group Inc., lead director of the board of Six Flags Theme Parks and board member at Brinker International. Earlier in his career, he was president of Popeye's and held leadership positions in contract foodservice with Marriott, Delaware North, and Aramark.
Among his many career accolades, Luther has earned a Gold Plate Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. He was inducted into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame in 2010 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Leadership Roundtable in 2012.
"For almost 70 years, the CIA has set a standard of excellence as the leader in culinary education," says Luther, who joined the board of trustees of the college in 2006 and served as vice chairman for the past three years. "I'm honored to become chairman at this great institution, as it continues to shape the future of education and lead the way in preparing graduates to be industry leaders of tomorrow."
Other board officers for 2015–16 are vice chairman Richard Mazer, retired CEO and president of Ventura Foods; treasurer Robert A. Muh, CEO of Sutter Securities; and secretary Roy Yamaguchi, founder of the Hawaii-based Roy's restaurants, with 22 locations in eight states. Joining the board for the first time are Philip Jones, president of Jones Dairy Farm, and Steve Romaniello, managing director of Roark Capital Group.
The CIA Board of Trustees consists of 25 highly respected leaders in the foodservice industry and business world. They provide expert governance and guidance for the not-for-profit college, and are not compensated for their services.
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