UFood Restaurant Group Inc. announces that George Naddaff has resigned as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. The Board of Directors also announced that it has elected Richard Golden, who has served on the company’s Board of Directors for the past three years, as the new chairman and CEO. “George has been an outstanding visionary and dedicated chief executive officer over the past eight years and I congratulate him for founding such an innovative fast-casual restaurant concept as UFood Grill,” Mr. Golden says. “America needs more “healthy” food choices, and George delivered it. Now, however, the Board respects that as a world class entrepreneur and franchise veteran, George is ready to pursue other ventures at this stage.”
Charlie Cocotas has also made the decision to retire from UFood after leading operations as COO of the company since 2008. “We are proud of the great menu and outstanding service our restaurants provide, the creation of which Charlie has led for the past four years,” Mr. Golden says. “UFood has been recognized publicly by winning numerous restaurant awards which clearly reflects Charlie’s in-depth experience and leadership in the company.”
Both Mr. Naddaff and Cocotas remain committed to UFood Grill’s success and will continue to provide consultation expertise as Mr. Golden assumes the CEO and chairman roles.
Mr. Golden is currently a private investor in a number of emerging companies and takes an active role in overseeing those investments. From 2007 to mid-2010, he was a managing director and served on the Board of Directors of Alumni Capital Network, a private equity firm specializing in buying and building small to mid-sized businesses. Since then he has operated as an independent fund manager with over $130 million in assets under management. Previously, he spent 28 years with Accenture in various executive management roles. He also managed large-scaled business improvement projects for Global 1000 companies, concentrating on airlines, manufacturers, and retailers. For Accenture, his management positions included country managing director – Sweden and Finland; managing director of the retail industry in Europe and Africa; chief operating officer for the Global Products Market Unit; and corporate chief of staff.
For over three years, Mr. Golden has been a critical member of the UFood Grill Board of Directors and will now turn his focused energies to the brand’s franchising growth as well as development into new market channels, like military bases – where UFood, for example, just opened their second location at Aberdeen Proving Ground Military base in Aberdeen, Maryland.
“I am excited the Board asked me to lead this company as its chairman and CEO. I strongly believe that UFood Grill fills a void in the fast-casual space for delicious and healthier meals. We have a strong foundation from which to grow this business and my job is to continue to secure the financing to make that happen so that more of America can enjoy our outstanding and ‘better-for-you’ menu," Mr. Golden says.