Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, a franchisor in the premium snack food industry, has appointed a new board of directors. The business is majority-owned by Z Capital Partners and The Carlyle Group.
Mrs. Fields Famous Brands (the “Company”), a franchisor of Mrs. Fields and TCBY, today announces a new board of directors as the company charts a new course towards global growth and profitability. Led by incumbent chairman, Bruce Pettet, the board now includes:
Robert S. Morrison, the former chairman, president and CEO of The Quaker Oats Company, and an operating partner of Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. (“Z Capital”), one of Mrs. Fields’ new major shareholders
James J. Zenni, President and Chief Executive Officer of Z Capital
Michael D. Stewart, a Managing Director of the Carlyle Group, one of Mrs. Fields’ new major shareholders
Christopher J. Kipley, a Managing Director of Z Capital
David Barr, an existing director who is chairman of Rita Restaurants LLC (formerly Avado Brands) and PMTD Restaurants LLC
The new directors bring global branded food and beverage, lifestyle and investment expertise.
Mr. Pettet states, “We are proud of the outstanding group of executives we have assembled to serve on the Mrs. Fields Board of Directors. With the addition of Robert Morrison, we add the depth of leadership and experience that’s found only at the premier global food and beverage companies.”
The Board will work closely with Tim Casey, President and CEO, of Mrs. Fields. Mr. Casey arrived at Mrs. Fields 18 months ago after serving in multiple executive roles with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Company, in addition to serving as president of Bakers Square.
Adds Mr. Casey, “We are also pleased to have the engagement and influence of our two majority owners, Z Capital Partners and The Carlyle Group. Coupled with an experienced management team, the new board brings together the right balance of Fortune 500 and international experience across food and beverage, lifestyle and financial industries. We believe Mrs. Fields and TCBY head into 2012 in an enviable position.”
Biographies of New Directors
Robert S. Morrison served as chairman, president and CEO of The Quaker Oats Company from 1997 until its 2001 merger with PepsiCo where he became vice chairman. Prior to joining Quaker, Mr. Morrison served as chairman and CEO of Kraft, Inc., from 1994 to 1997. He also serves on the boards of Aon Corporation, 3M Company and Illinois Tool Works. Mr. Morrison became an operating partner of Z Capital in 2008.
Michael D. Stewart, a Managing Director for The Carlyle Group, focuses on corporate investment opportunities. Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Stewart was one of the original principals of Sunrise Capital Partners, L.P., a private investment fund that focused on making control investments in distressed companies. Prior to joining Sunrise Capital Partners, Mr. Stewart worked in the financial restructuring group of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin for eight years. Mr. Stewart currently serves as director of Diversified Machine, Inc., Permian Tank & Manufacturing, Inc. and Metaldyne, LLC.
James J. Zenni is President and Chief Executive Officer of Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. (“Z Capital”) where he is responsible for all portfolio management and business operations. Prior to founding Z Capital, Mr. Zenni was the founder, president and managing partner and 50 percent equity owner of Black Diamond Capital Management, L.L.C. (“BDCM”). During Mr. Zenni’s ownership of BDCM, he was responsible for the success, growth and management of its funds and co-managed numerous private equity transactions such as Euro Disneyland S.N.C., Exide Technologies, Inc., Imperial Sugar Company, New World Pasta Company and Smarte Carte Corporation.
Christopher J. Kipley, Managing Director of Z Capital, is a member of the investment team. Prior to joining Z Capital, Mr. Kipley was a Managing Director with Black Diamond Capital Management, L.L.C. (“BDCM”) where he was responsible for managing private equity investments. Mr. Kipley has substantial credit and restructuring experience. During his tenure with BDCM, he was actively involved in the restructurings of American Safety Razor Company; Carmike Cinemas, Inc.; Diamond Brands Operating Corp.; Fleming Companies, Inc.; Imperial Sugar Company; Interstate Bakeries Corporation; New World Pasta Company; Sleepmaster, L.L.C.; and WinsLoew Furniture, Inc.
Bruce Pettet became Mrs. Fields Famous Brands Chairman in 2010. He is President and CEO of Collective Licensing International, LLC (CLI), a leading youth-lifestyle performance and global licensing firm. Before forming CLI, Mr. Pettet served as President and CEO of Airwalk International and President and CEO of Brooks, Inc. where he led a successful turnaround of the business.
Tim Casey, who has served on the board since arriving in 2010, has to his credit 10+ years at Starbucks Coffee Company during the company’s most formative years as it was inventing the specialty coffee category in addition to his time at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Company and Bakers Square.
David Barr serves as the chairman of Rita Restaurants LLC (formerly Avado Brands), chairman of PMTD Restaurants LLC, and on the boards of The Bistro Group and Del Frisco Restaurant Group.
About Mrs. Fields Famous Brands
The Company is a well-established franchisor in the premium snack food industry, featuring Mrs. Fields® and TCBY® as its core brands. Through its franchisees’ retail stores, it is one of the largest retailers of freshly baked, on-premises specialty cookies and brownies in the world and the largest retailer of soft-serve frozen yogurt with live active cultures. Its franchise systems operate through a network of more than 950 franchised and licensed locations throughout the United States and in 23 foreign countries. In addition, it operates an internet and catalog gifting business, a branded retail business and has entered into licensing arrangements that leverage awareness of its core brands among its retail customer base. The Company is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.