Niren Chaudhary has been tapped as the new president and chief executive officer of Panera Bread Co., a subsidiary of JAB Holding Co. Chaudhary will succeed Blaine Hurst, who plans to retire on May 23 after leading the company since January 2018. Hurst will remain on Panera’s board and become vice-chairman.
Chaudhary joins Panera from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc., another portfolio company of JAB Holding. Chaudhary has been chief operating officer and president of Krispy Kreme International since 2017. Before that, he spent 23 years with Yum! Brands, Inc. in a variety of executive positions, including president of KFC Global and president of Yum! India.
Hurst had been with Panera since 2010, holding various roles, including executive vice-president and chief transformation and growth officer. He has been Panera’s president and CEO since January 2018. Hurst will work alongside Chaudhary after he joins the company in early May to help ensure a smooth transition into his new role, Panera said.
“We are deeply grateful for Blaine’s contributions during his time at Panera,” Goudet said. “Blaine played a significant role in making Panera a leader in the industry, including his tireless efforts to lead Panera through its omnichannel journey, including Panera 2.0, digital, delivery, catering, brand evolution and his commitment to diversity and inclusion. To that effect, we are excited that Blaine has agreed to join JAB to help accelerate the technology transformation of our other food portfolio brands such as Pret a Manger.”