Nicholas Paul Shepherd has been named chairman, CEO, and president of Sagittarius Brands, parent company of the Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen and Del Taco restaurant chains, effective March 1. Shepherd will succeed Ron Powell as CEO who stepped down from this position due to a family illness and Sid Feltenstein, who had been functioning as interim CEO and Chairman while the company searched for a permanent leader.

An experienced international executive, Shepherd spent the past 12 years in the home entertainment industry with Blockbuster Inc. He most recently served as Blockbuster’s COO with global responsibility for the $5.5 billion company’s marketing, merchandising, distribution, operations and real estate functions for more than 8,000 stores and its online movie subscription business. He began there in 1995 as Vice President and Managing Director of the United Kingdom market and advanced to Senior Vice President, International; President North America; Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer and President Worldwide Stores.

Shepherd spent the first half of his career in restaurant management. While earning a degree in management and hospitality, he began with the international restaurant, bar and brewing company, Whitbread PLC, where he ultimately was promoted to operations and brand development manager. He later joined Allied Lyons PLC, a UK-based retail, food and drink manufacturing company, where he had responsibility for the development and operations of multiple brands. In 1986, he was recruited by Grand Metropolitan PLC, where he spent almost five years in a variety of positions overseeing operations, franchising, marketing, brand development, procurement and real estate management for full-service restaurants across the UK and Europe. He later went on to establish his own service management consulting business, servicing a number of medium and large restaurant, hospitality and retail clients.

Reporting directly to Shepherd will be Shirlene Lopez, President/COO of Del Taco; David Head, President/COO of Captain D’s; Ron Petty, President, Development; Mike Payne, SVP and Chief Financial Officer; Mike Folks, SVP and General Counsel; Jim Lynde, SVP, People; and Carmine Martone, VP, Retail Design.

After turning over the reins to Shepherd, Feltenstein plans to step down from the Sagittarius Board to spend more time on his significant not-for-profit commitments, including The Health Store Foundation that is dedicated to opening medical clinics in rural villages in sub Saharan Africa. Ron Powel will continue to serve on the Sagittarius Board.

Sagittarius acquired Captain D’s in 2005. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Captain D’s owns, operates and franchises some 600 restaurants in 26 of the United States and the Caribbean, plus military bases around the world. Captain D’s restaurants serve a widely varied seafood menu that includes freshly prepared entrées, delectable pasta dishes and the company’s signature fried fish, which is freshly hand-battered and prepared to order to ensure freshness. Recently Captain D’s received the National Restaurant Association’s MenuMasters Award for its newly revamped menu that includes premium-quality baked or broiled fish, as well as shrimp, chicken and more than 10 new side dishes. Captain D’s was recently honored for its positive efforts with minority franchisees. More information is available at

In 2006, Sagittarius acquired Del Taco, a southern California Mexican quick serve icon that was founded in 1961. Del Taco has more than 500 restaurants in 14 states and offers a wide variety of made-to-order Mexican menu items such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas and American fare such as burgers, fries and shakes. Del Taco menu items are made fresh only once the customer places the order, and are prepared with many quality ingredients including lard-free beans made from scratch daily, real cheddar cheese grated on site, chicken grilled fresh every hour, and fresh produce. More information is available at

In 2007, Sagittarius signed franchise deals for 91 new restaurants including 15 Captain D’s and 65 Del Taco’s. Sagittarius Brands is a privately held company.

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