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Panera Bread hires Lauren Cody for chief of staff, chief customer officer role

13-year McDonald’s veteran becomes latest exec in bakery-cafe chain’s leadership expansion

Lauren Cody has taken the role of chief of staff and chief customer officer for Panera Bread, the fast-casual chain announced. She has deep experience in strategy and business and consumer insights. In addition, Panera noted that over her twenty years in the restaurant industry,, Cody has developed a global business leadership acumen.

Her experience includes work with top restaurant chains, including McDonald’s and Burger King. As part of Panera Bread’s expansion of its leadership team, Cody, who worked for McDonald’s for 13 years, becomes the fast casual’s newest executive.

At McDonald’s she held the position of managing director for the Norwegian market and VP of Strategy & Insights for the UK. Most recently, Cody held the role of Corporate VP, handling Consumer & Business Insights on the global stage.

“It’s an exciting time at Panera and we are very pleased to have Lauren join us as chief of staff and chief customer officer, reporting directly to me,” said Niren Chaudhary, chief executive of Panera Bread. “Panera is a brand that puts our guests first, and with Lauren driving strategy at the helm of our Customer Care division, we are excited to continue toward becoming one of the most customer responsive brands in the industry.”

Photo credit: Eatery Pulse Media (featured preview image)

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