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McDonald’s veteran joins Panera Bread

Debbie Roberts
Debbie Roberts

Panera Bread has named a 30-year veteran of McDonald’s as COO.

The fast-casual eatery appointed Debbie Roberts as executive VP and COO, effective Sept. 8. Roberts joins Panera after three decades at McDonald's, most recently serving as East Zone president, with responsibility for 7,000 restaurants in 11 regions.

"We are thrilled to welcome Debbie to Panera and looking forward to her bringing her strong record of cross-functional partnership, results-driven engagement, and especially, her focus on people as the core of operational excellence," said Niren Chaudhary, CEO, Panera. "As the brand continues to grow and transform, Debbie's experience will bring fresh perspective and unparalleled industry experience to our executive team."

As of June 30, 2020, there were 2,128 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co. banners.

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