CEO Allen Corey steps down at Craftworks in Chattanooga

CEO Allen Corey steps down at Craftworks in Chattanooga

April 24th, 2013 by Ellis Smith in Business Around the Region

CEO of Craftworks Restaurants Allen Corey speaks with the Chattanooga Times Free Press about an upcoming business venture.

Photo by Alex Washburn/Times Free Press.

Richard "Dick" Rivera, chairman of the board of Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries, will assume the responsibilities of CEO while the companies searches for a replacement for departing chief Allen Corey.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries will begin looking for a new CEO following the departure of Allen Corey, who took over as head of the Chattanooga-based company after it was created in a November 2010 merger.

Dick Rivera, chairman of the company's board, will fill in for Corey during what Craftworks anticipates will be a six-month transition. Rivera has served as chief operating officer at Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse. He was elected chairman of National Restaurant Association for the 2007-08 term.

Neither Corey nor Rivera could be reached for comment.

"We couldn't be happier with the results and the growth of the company, it's all very positive," said Carrie Kleban, chief marketing officer at Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries. "One of the key drivers of Allen being comfortable and saying he's ready to move on from here is the fact that things are on this upward trend."

Corey will remain on Craftworks' board, and will continue to run strategic projects, Kleban said. The former Miller & Martin attorney told staff Monday that he would leave the company, but no formal announcement has been issued.

Corey was an initial investor and founder of Chattaooga-based Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, which he ran for 13 years before he merged the company with Rock Bottom Restaurants to create Craftworks Restaurants and Breweries.

He oversaw the construction of the company's $11 million headquarters at its Southside location. At the time of the move in 2011, Craftworks was grossing $500 million in revenue, which Corey said at the time was growing at a rate of 10 percent to 15 percent each year.

In Chattanooga, the company operates Bluewater Grille, as well as two Big River Grille & Brewing Works locations.