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New CEO believes now is Greene Turtle’s ‘time to shine’


Geo Concepcion

Geo Concepcion, the newly named president and CEO of Greene Turtle, had strong bragging rights from his tenure as COO at Famous Dave’s. “I helped them with three new prototypes, two full-service and one fast-casual, and then I led the third-party delivery” effort at the barbecue brand.

“That was a huge driver for us, and we were able to put together seven quarters of comp sales, which hadn’t been done for the decade prior,” for company-owned stores, he said.

Asked if the progress took heavy lifting, “That is putting it lightly,” he said. “A lot of that, though, is what primed me for the position I have now, which is managing to put together initiatives and specifically growth initiatives in the face of casual dining challenges.”

Concepcion’s first task is “threading the needle” between maintaining a “legacy brand with a lot of brand affinity” yet also one that “needs to evolve.”

Interviewed three weeks into his new job, in late May, Concepcion said Greene Turtle has 44 units open, flat for years, but before getting growth going he wants to “make sure that every touchpoint” is right at the 40-plus-year-old brand, and he plans to test every idea thoroughly before rolling it out to the system.

Asked why he took on the challenge of a legacy brand in casual dining, he calls it contrarian thinking. “It goes back to, what do people care about most these days? And even in the millennial cohort, experiences trump possessions,” he said. “So when we talk about things that manage to stand the test of time, like any great vintage item, when you cultivate it right, its time to shine comes again.”

I ask his age, and he responds: 33. So it’s a millennial taking an old brand by storm? “I think that’s the board’s idea,” he replies.

Executive Ladder

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Sola Salon Studios added Christina Russell as chief executive officer.

Inspire Brands promoted Don Crocker to chief development officer and appointed Christopher Held as chief supply officer.

FitnessOnDemand promoted Uday Anumalachetty to divisional vice president and Andrew Evenson, to senior director, operations and brand strategy.

CMIT Solutions named Roger Lewis as its new CEO, replacing Jeff Connally.

Muginoho International, the franchisor of Beard Papa’s, appointed Pamela Fazio as president and CEO.

Huddle House promoted Troy Tracy to COO and Nathan Ballard to chief supply chain officer, and hired Sergio Perez as the chain’s first director of digital marketing.

Jim Stevens is the new president of Golden Chick. Mark Parmerlee, former president, will continue as chairman of the board and president of Golden Tree Restaurants.

Monster Tree Service named Dane Buell chief operating officer.

Sport Clips Haircuts promoted Jim Atkinson to vice president of franchise development.

HomeVestors named Mark Kentner vice president of operations.

Mark Mele was promoted to chief development officer and Joanne Sofia to SVP of operations at Lightbridge Academy.

Alamo Drafthouse hired Chris Drazba as VP of franchise development.

Rich Watson was named vice president and senior relationship manager of the restaurant group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

FranConnect President Gabby Wong was promoted to chief executive officer.

Send promotions and new hires in franchising to Beth Ewen, bewen@franchisetimes.com.

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