Chairman and CEO John Bitove will assume the new role of executive chairman of Priszm Income Fund.
"We are very impressed with Jeff's leadership and are confident that his broad knowledge and proven capabilities will deliver the high performance our unitholders expect," said John Bitove. "Jeff has executed decisively and with his demonstrated abilities in corporate management, I am confident unitholders will begin to see the positive results in the coming months as he provides increased focus and effort to diversify and add growth to our current portfolio of brands and restaurants."
O'Neill has more than 20 years of senior executive experience in North America and has an extensive background in operations, marketing and strategic planning for some of the world's most recognized brand names including past president of Pepsi-Cola Canada as well as senior marketing and sales positions on Quaker cereals, Snack Foods and Gatorade.
"I am eager and excited by new opportunities that are developing as we refocus our business and seek opportunities to add truly incremental sales and profit to Priszm," said O'Neill.
Appointment of New President KFC/Taco Bell
Priszm also announced the appointment of Steve Langford as president, KFC/Taco Bell. Effective immediately, Langford will now be responsible for the operation and marketing of the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands for Priszm. Langford's prior role as general manager of UPGC was to operate the purchasing group for 1,100 Yum! restaurants in Canada. Langford started his career in the restaurant business and has had extensive senior management positions including president of BC Hothouse Foods as well as senior merchandising roles with Shoppers Drug Mart where he led the creation and implementation of its category management function, and with Loblaws where he worked with Dave Nichol on the President's Choice brand.
"Steve has been with Priszm for five years and understands this business inside and out," said O'Neill. "He did a fantastic job with realigning our purchasing group for operational efficiencies and I am confident that he will play a key role in supporting marketing and operations in satisfying the needs of today's QSR consumer."
Appointment of New Chief Financial Officer
Priszm also announced the appointment of Steven Boyack as chief financial officer effective March 17, 2008. Most recently, Boyack was the CFO at West 49 Inc., a public company listed on the TSX. With more than 18 years of experience in retail, consumer goods and public accounting, he has held senior management positions with several leading retail organizations including Winners and the Hudson's Bay Company.
"Steven has an outstanding track record, and I look forward to having him as a key partner on the business," said O'Neill. "We are confident that his experience will lend very well to our restructuring, as his background in finance, strategic planning, information technology, e-commerce and logistics will be an excellent fit with Priszm's growth strategy moving forward."
Both Langford and Boyack will report to O'Neill in their new roles. As part of this announcement, Priszm also announced the resignation of CFO Peter Walkey, who has been Priszm CFO since 2004. He will stay with the business until the completion of a smooth transition.
"Peter has played a pivotal role in Priszm's success over the past four-and-a-half years and was instrumental in our transition to an income trust model," said Bitove. "We thank him for his great contributions during his tenure and wish him well in his future endeavors."
From the March 17, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash