Panera dad or mum firm pronounces CEO change because it prepares for IPO
Customers visit an open Panera Bread location at Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station, New York on March 26, 2020.
Bruce Bennett | Getty Images
Panera Bread’s parent company is changing leadership as it prepares to go public again.
Tuesday’s announcement confirms that the restaurant company is interested in going public after calling off a deal with Danny Meyer’s SPAC to go public last year.
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The agreement would have swapped USHG Acquisition stock for shares in the Sandwich chain and allowed the company to survive a merger with Panera’s Rye Merger subsidiary. However, Panera scrapped those plans in July, citing market conditions.
JAB Holding, the investment arm of the Reimann family, bought Panera Bread for $7.5 billion in 2017 and went private. The company merged the sandwich chain with Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee and formed Panera Brands.
In the press release, Panera Brands said the leadership changes were “in preparation for the potential IPO.”
Current CEO Niren Chaudhary will step down on July 1 but plans to stay on as the company’s chief executive officer. Chaudhary was CEO for four years after joining the company from Krispy Kreme. According to Factset, JAB Holding also owned the donut chain prior to its IPO in 2021 and still retains a 45% stake.
Jose Dueñas, CEO of Einstein Bros. Bagels, will lead Chaudhary. Before joining the bagel chain in 2019, he was chief brand officer for Sonic Drive-In. His resume also includes time at Darden restaurants olive garden and Kellogg.
In 2022, Panera Brands sales exceeded $4.8 billion. Panera Bread, the largest chain in the portfolio, has long been recognized as a technology leader in the hospitality industry. Digital orders account for more than half of the chain’s total sales and its loyalty program has 53 million members. Panera Bread has also tested AI taking drive-through orders Amazon’s Palm Scan Technology.
Panera Brands isn’t the only restaurant company publicly discussing an IPO. On Friday, the Mediterranean fast-casual chain Cava filed for an IPO.