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Panera Changes CEO in Preparation for Initial Public Offering



Following its announcement of an initial public offering (IPO), Panera’s current CEO will step down. Niren Chaudhary, who has been CEO since May 2019, will be replaced by José Alberto Dueñas, who is currently president and chief executive of Einstein Bros. Bagels. 

Panera initially planned to go public through a partnership with Danny Meyer’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), USHG Acquisition Corp. However, the SPAC strategy was shut down due to deteriorating capital market conditions. Panera has not provided a timeline for its IPO. 

“I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to lead the phenomenal group of people at Panera Brands and be part of what is undoubtedly one of the most iconic brands in food,” says Dueñas. “I believe that with this incredibly dedicated team and our great franchisee partners we can continue to deliver a best-in-class guest experience, increase our positive impact in the communities we serve and accelerate key growth-driving initiatives to prepare the Company for a future public listing.”  

Starting July 1, 2023, Chaudhary will transition to chairman with Panera, allowing him to continue working with Dueñas throughout the transition to a public company. 


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