Noodles & Company announced that the Board has appointed Noodles Board member Drew Madsen to serve as interim CEO effective immediately. Concurrently, the Board has initiated a comprehensive search for a new permanent CEO to lead the Company into its next phase of growth. Madsen’s appointment follows the decision by the Board to transition to new leadership, resulting in Dave Boennighausen’s departure as the Company’s CEO.
Mr. Madsen brings a wealth of experience in the restaurant industry to the role of interim CEO. In his recent operating roles, Mr. Madsen was President and Chief Operating Officer at some of the most successful and well-respected businesses in the restaurant industry. Most recently, Mr. Madsen was President of Panera Bread. During his tenure at Panera, Mr. Madsen led the company to industry leadership in clean food, digital sales, and home delivery, combined with significantly improved operations execution and aggressive cost reduction.
Mr. Madsen’s professional experience prior to Panera includes fifteen years at Darden. Mr. Madsen was President & Chief Operating Officer for nearly ten years. During his tenure, he helped establish Darden as a successful multi-brand operator in full service dining. In addition, Darden was the first restaurant company to be recognized by Fortune as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” achieving that distinction for three consecutive years.
Mr. Madsen has served on the Noodles board since 2017. For nearly ten years, Mr. Madsen was a board member at Darden Restaurants. He previously served as an independent director on the board of Talbots Inc., the specialty retailer of women’s fashion.
Jeff Jones, Noodles & Company Board Chairman, commented on the interim CEO appointment, stating, “We are very excited to have Drew step into the interim CEO role and remain on our Board. He is a seasoned executive with a deep understanding of our Company’s operations and strategy, and has a successful track record as a leader in the restaurant industry. We have full confidence in his ability to guide the company effectively during this time as we focus on key strategic initiatives to drive top line growth and bottom line results and significantly enhance stockholder value.”
Mr. Madsen also expressed his commitment to the company during this interim period, saying, “I am honored to take on this role and work with our dedicated employees, partners, and stakeholders while we search for a permanent leader. As interim CEO, I will focus the Noodles team on delivering exceptional experiences to our customers, and effectively implementing the initiatives that drive business growth.”
Mr. Jones expressed his gratitude for Mr. Boennighausen’s contributions to the Company: “On behalf of the Board, we thank Dave for his leadership and dedication to Noodles. He led the Noodles team and navigated the Company through a period of rapid change and market disruption, including during the pandemic. His passion for the Noodles brand is undeniable, he has our full respect, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”