Papa Murphy’s International, America’s take ‘n’ bake pizza leader and fifth largest pizza chain in the U.S., announced the company’s President Ken Calwell will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer, effective Dec. 31, 2011.

Current CEO John Barr will remain Papa Murphy’s Chairman of the Board and will hand over day-to-day executive duties to Calwell.

“Under Ken’s leadership, Papa Murphy’s will continue on its successful growth path,” Barr says. “I am confident in his ability to build on our momentum and sustain our strong consumer rankings. I look forward to focusing my chairman’s duties on guiding the brand’s strategic growth.”

Under Barr’s seven-year tenure as CEO, Papa Murphy’s system store count increased by 500 (nearly 1,300 stores today), while year-over-year U.S. systemwide sales by more than 80 percent. He also secured more than a dozen best-in-class national awards recognizing the chain’s products, service, value, and franchise owner satisfaction.

Calwell joined Papa Murphy’s in June 2011, bringing with him more than 20 years of leadership experience at large quick service restaurant chains. This includes his most recent role at Wendy’s International as chief marketing officer and EVP of research and development.

Ken led the development of Wendy’s new brand growth strategy, including the successful testing and national rollout of New Natural Cut Sea Salt Fries, Dave’s Hot N’ Juicy Hamburger line, and New Fresh Premium Salad line. Before joining Wendy’s, Ken was the chief marketing officer and EVP of product development at Domino’s Pizza, where he was part of the leadership team that led the company through a successful IPO in 2004. Ken has also held leadership positions at Frito Lay, Pizza Hut, and The Pillsbury Company.

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