The new owners of The Krystal Co., have hired the chief franchising officer for the Chattanooga-based CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc., to head the 360-unit hamburger chain.
Doug Pendergast, currently chief development officer for Craftworks, was named today as Krystal's chief executive officer, replacing James Fred Exum Jr. The management change is the first since the Atlanta-based equity firm, Argonne Capital Group LLC, bought the 80-year-old Krystal Co. last month.
"I am delighted to be part of a company with both a deep history and strong growth potential," Pendergast said in a statement today. "The leadership team and investors deserve tremendous credit for stabilizing the company and building a sound foundation for expansion."
A 12-year restaurant industry veteran, Pendergast also previously served as chief franchise officer at Church's Chicken where he and his team grew Church's by 250 units over a five-year period.
The new executive board for Krystal also announced today that Al Ryan has been appointed vice president of operations and Partha Mukherjee as chief information officer.
Ryan most recently served as vice president of international operations for Church's Chicken, managing 450 restaurants. Prior to joining Church's, he was director of operations for Domino's Pizza.
Mukherjee is also a Church's veteran, most recently serving as Chief Information Officer of the quick service restaurant (QSR) chain.
"By adding these new players to an already talented management slate, we're building a team that will lead Krystal along the steep growth trajectory established in recent months," said Harsha V. Agadi, non-executive chairman of the board at Krystal. "Our brand and our customers have a great future ahead."