Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon appoint new leaders

Auntie Anne's franchise
Auntie Anne's We are so much more than just pretzels

Auntie Anne’s is the largest global soft pretzel chain – but we are so much more than just pretzels! The formula for Auntie Anne’s success is simple: product, people and purpose. Our brand purpose is to do good. We deliver smiles. We offer a moment of joy in an otherwise hectic day.

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Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon have welcomed new brand and marketing officers onto their teams, as part of parent group Focus Brands’ employment drive. 

Carvel, Jamba, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli and Schlotzsky’s, which are all part of the Focus Brands group, will also benefit from new additions to their leadership teams. 

At takeaway franchise Auntie Anne’s, Alisa Gmelich will take over from Heather Neary as Chief Brand Officer, working to enhance the business’s international presence. She has a high level of expertise overseeing marketing and strategic planning initiatives to drive sales, thanks to her 25 years of experience in the industry. Alisa has previously worked for leading fast food retailers, including McDonald’s, Burger King and IHOP. 

Also joining Auntie Anne’s is Cynthia Liu, who will take on the role of Vice President of Marketing. She’ll be leaving her job at The Hershey Company, where she was Director of Partnerships and Occasion Marketing. Cynthia has 15 years of industry experience, having worked at the Kraft Heinz Company, with Jell-O and Shake ‘N Bake. 

Cinnabon is also set to introduce a new face. Kendall Ware will join the Cinnamon roll cafe, as well as the ice cream shop Carvel, as Chief Brand Officer. For the past 15 years, he’s been developing businesses and improving their processes. Kendall is moving to Cinnabon from Orange Leaf, where he worked as Chief Operating Officer and managed to reverse a seven-year decline in sales. 

Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands explained why the group had decided to hire several new people: 

“This year has been about refining our structure and our brands to accelerate performance and prepare us for the future. As we end 2020, I know we have the right talent, with the right strategies in place to take our brands and our business to the next level.”

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