ATLANTA – April 13, 2020 – Global Franchise Group® (GFG), the strategic brand management company and franchisor of Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Pretzelmaker®, Marble Slab Creamery®/MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream & Treatery® and Round Table Pizza®, has named a new Chief Executive Officer, foodservice veteran and seasoned restaurant executive, Paul Damico. Damico will lead GFG’s growth, acquisitions, and shared services and champion its “franchising first” philosophy. He officially started April 6 and is working alongside the GFG Executive Team to direct the organization through the COVID-19 crisis.
“After a thorough and extensive search and evaluation, we are pleased to name Paul Damico the new CEO of Global Franchise Group,” said Michael Serruya, Chairman of the GFG Board of Directors. “With experience in so many facets of restaurant operations from marketing, operations, culinary, and franchising, he brings a unique approach to franchise portfolio management platforms. As Global Franchise Group evolves and emerges after COVID-19, his experience with building shared services and guiding organizations through times of transition will be an asset. We will be poised to acquire additional brands.”
With more than 35 years in food and hospitality, Damico’s career includes top leadership roles in premium organizations including Host Marriott, Food Brand, LLC, Creative Host Services, and the Focus Brands portfolio of restaurants. Most recently, he served as CEO of emerging concept Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill and successfully developed a franchise model preparing the brand for national growth. Prior to Naf Naf, he was President of Focus Brands and was responsible for the oversight of McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon. Paul is known as a dynamic and personable leader with a deep history of collaborating with franchisees and has a unique perspective regarding franchising and best practices. Paul has a passion for food and dining having graduated from Johnson & Wales with degrees Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management.
“Global Franchise Group is an organization well positioned to become one of the top restaurant and QSR franchise systems in the country,” said Paul Damico, CEO of GFG. “I was attracted to GFG because of the company’s growth potential and unwavering commitment to our franchisees and brands. By strengthening shared services and building the portfolio with complimentary concepts, GFG will reach new heights. I’m thrilled to join this talented and passionate team.”
Damico succeeds Chris Dull, the organization’s longtime President and CEO who exited the organization in February. GFG’s Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations, Jenn Johnston, will resume her critical role as Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations after successfully serving as Interim CEO and leading the organization through a challenging transition period.
Global Franchise Group’s mission is to champion brands and the people who build them. It builds great brands that connect people with craveable products and memorable experiences. GFG currently supports more than 1,400 franchised and corporate stores across all brands located in 16 countries and has system wide sales close to $1 billion.
About Global Franchise Group, LLC – Visit Global Franchise Group
Global Franchise Group, LLC is a strategic brand management company with a mission of championing franchise brands and the people who build them. The company owns a portfolio of franchise brands that includes five primary quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise concepts: Great American Cookies®, Hot Dog on a Stick®, Marble Slab Creamery®, MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream & Treatery®, Pretzelmaker® and Round Table Pizza®. Global Franchise Group, LLC is an affiliate of Lion Capital LLP and Serruya Private Equity, Inc.
Chief Marketing Officer
Annica has more than 20 years of award-winning marketing experience and has been with GFG for 3 years. She joined the company from Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers where she was Vice President, Brand Development. In this role, Annica was responsible for the rebirth and growth in popularity of the 42-year-old eclectic brand through smart menu design and development, implementation of the Mellow Mushroom loyalty app and creation and rollout of its first online ordering system. Before her time with Mellow Mushroom, Annica was Vice President of Marketing for Mcalister’s Corporation and she spent the early part of her career at a prominent advertising agency in Mobile Alabama. She is graduate of Samford University in Birmingham where she earned her Bachelors in Marketing and MBA in Economics.
Chief Financial Officer
Patterson came to Global Franchise Group in April 2020 from FOCUS Brands where he served as Senior Vice President of Accounting. For the last eleven years, he was responsible for leading financials for Cinnabon, Carvel, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s and Jamba Juice. He directed the organization through the transfer and integration of all accounting back-office functions for Auntie Anne’s from Pennsylvania, McAlister’s Deli from Mississippi, and Jamba Juice from Texas to Atlanta and converted a brand-centric accounting structure into a shared services organization. Before his time with FOCUS, he was Senior Vice President & Corporate Controller for Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video (NASDAQ: MOVI & MVGR), Vice President and Corporate Controller for Republic National Cabinet Corporation, and Corporate Controller for Wolverine Tube, Inc. (NYSE: WLV). He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant, holds a master’s in business administration from Auburn University, and is a graduate of the University of Texas, Tyler.