Panera Bread marketing head Chris Hollander exits

The chain is not planning to hire a new CMO.

Panera Bread will no longer have a CMO. (Photo credit: Getty Images).
Panera Bread will no longer have a CMO. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

ST. LOUIS: Panera Bread SVP of marketing Chris Hollander is leaving the fast-casual chain after 10 years.

Hollander said he is departing the company in a LinkedIn post, in which he called his time there “immensely rewarding.” He said he is actively searching for his next CMO or GM-level gig.

Panera hired Eduardo Luz in May as chief concept and brand officer. The chain will no longer have a CMO, Hollander said via email.

“I stayed on until September to help with his transition,” he said. “I’m excited to see where he and [CEO Niren Chaudhary] will take the brand and the timing was right for both sides."

Luz said via email that he manages brand and concept for Panera, which includes digital, culinary, sustainability, category management, strategy, media, insights, PR and brand building. He added that brand building is a new function at the chain that is now led by VP of brand marketing Ezra Martin. 

“That was the bulk of Chris Hollander’s scope,” said Luz. “The other parts of Chris’ scope, such as PR and media, were moved under other leaders who report to me.”

In April, Panera started selling grocery goods such as breads, bagels, milk, yogurt, cream cheese and fresh produce as consumers ate fewer meals from restaurants during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Chaudhary said at the time that the chain lost half its business once its dining rooms closed.

There are 2,128 bakery cafes in 48 states and Ontario operating under the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co. brands, the chain said in a recent statement. 

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