James E. Holthouser has been named chief executive officer at Focus Brands, parent company of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jama, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s.
He brings more than 30 years of experience in global brand development, concept innovation, franchise management, and digital marketing. He previously was executive vice-president of global brands, marketing and loyalty at Hilton Worldwide, where he oversaw a portfolio of 13 brands with more than 5,000 hotels. He held several positions at Hilton before that, including senior vice-president of global full-service brands and senior vice-president of brand management.
Holthouser succeeds Steven C. DeSutter, who is retiring after nearly six years at the company’s helm.
“Jim is a results-oriented leader with a demonstrated history of partnering with team members and franchisees to drive results," says Steven M. Romaniello, chairman of the Focus Brands board. “His track record of managing multi-branded portfolios and growing brands is impressive and gives us great confidence that he is ideally suited to lead Focus Brands in its next phase of growth. We thank Steve for his leadership and service over the past six years and look forward to welcoming Jim to the Focus Brands family.”