Newly acquired California Pizza Kitchen Inc. on Thursday said G.J. Hart, who has run a similar restaurant chain, had been named as chief executive, replacing the company’s founders.
Hart, who most recently was chief executive of the Texas Roadhouse chain, succeeds California Pizza’s co-chief executives Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax. San Francisco private equity firm Golden Gate Capital month completed a $470 million acquisition of the Los Angeles casual dining restaurant chain.
Hart, 53, will also hold the titles of president and executive chairman. He had been with Texas Roadhouse for 10 years and was on the public company's board. He is credited with growing the Louisville, Ky.-based Roadhouse into a chain of more than 350 owned or franchised restaurants, and increasing revenues from $63 million to more than $1 billion.
California Pizza did not say whether Rosenfield and Flax will continue to have any role in the company.
“This is the right time to bring in a new CEO with the operational and strategic expertise to take (the company) to the next level of performance,” Rosenfield and Flax said in a statement.” In G.J., we have found a talented leader with demonstrated success in building one of the most popular and respected casual dining brands through employee loyalty and a focus on delivering a superior dining experience for consumers.”
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