Russ Klein, Arby’s

Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. has announced that Russ Klein will join Arby’s as chief marketing officer.

Klein, who brings a 25-year track record of marketing management, brand turnarounds and value creation at Burger King, 7-Eleven, Dr Pepper, 7-Up and other brands, will lead Arby’s efforts to revitalize the iconic fast food brand.

“Adding a marketing pro like Russ to our team is a big win for every Arby’s stakeholder. His track record for leveraging consumer insights into powerful communication plans that resonate with consumers, drive sales and ultimately increase value is unmatched in the industry.

“We expect his deep knowledge of the restaurant business, his understanding of the highly competitive landscape as well as his experience with franchise organizations will deliver outstanding results for Arby’s,” says Moddelmog.

Jon Luther, chairman of ARG Holding Corporation’s Board of Directors, adds, “I’ve had the privilege to work with many talented marketing executives over my career. What Russ was able to accomplish at other brands to re-position how they compete in the marketplace and change the trajectory of their businesses is truly remarkable. He’s one of the industry’s best. We all look forward to Russ making a positive impact on Arby’s.”

Over the course of his career, Klein has launched new brands, repositioned existing brands and brought “talked about” ideas to the marketplace. He has been publicly acknowledged by numerous “Top Marketer” lists spanning three decades, including “Top 100 Marketer” by Advertising Age and “Marketer of the Year” twice by BrandWeek.

Klein is a graduate of Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program and earned a BS in Business Administration from The Ohio State University, where he is a recipient of the Max Fisher College of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Asked about the opportunity to join Arby’s, Klein explained, “It’s really about the caliber of people at Arby’s and at Roark Capital and the huge potential I see with Arby’s.

“Arby's represents one of the largest remaining opportunities left in the restaurant industry to take a large scale, iconic American brand and turn it into a global business. So here I am."

Moddelmog sees Klein as a great fit:

“We feel very good about the first phase of rebuilding Arby’s. We just completed five consecutive quarters of comp sales growth, and the launch of Arby’s Ultimate Angus Beef platform has been well received by consumers. Adding Russ’ talents and contributions will only accelerate what is already making good progress.”

Robert Towers, Ark Restaurants

Ark Restaurants Corp. has announced that Robert Towers submitted his resignation as president and COO effective January 1, 2012.

Towers, who had been with the company in varying capacities for 28 years, decided to leave Ark to pursue several other business opportunities.

“Bob has played a key role in our development and we thank him for his services and valuable contribution to our success,” says Michael Weinstein, chairman and CEO of Ark. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Ark Restaurants owns and operates 20 restaurants and bars, 28 fast food concepts and catering operations in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas.

Six restaurants are located in New York City, three in Washington, D.C., seven d in Las Vegas, two in Atlantic City, New Jersey, one at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut, and one is located in Boston.

The Las Vegas operations include five restaurants within the New York-New York Hotel & Casino Resort and operation of the hotel's room service, banquet facilities, employee dining room and six foodcourt concepts; one bar within the Venetian Casino Resort, as well as three food court concepts and one restaurant within the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

In Atlantic City, New Jersey, the company operates a restaurant and a bar in the Resorts’ Atlantic City Hotel and Casino. The operations at the Foxwoods Resort Casino include one fast food concept and six fast food concepts at the MGM Grand Casino.

In Boston, the company operates a restaurant in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The Florida operations under management include five fast food facilities in Tampa, and seven fast food facilities in Hollywood, Florida, each at a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino operated by the Seminole Indian Tribe at these locations.

Shelby Rajkovich, United Fresh Produce

United Fresh Produce Association welcomes Shelby Rajkovich as its new communications manager.

Rajkovich will support United’s communications goals to keep members updated with the latest industry news, further the association’s news media outreach, and assist in the development and implementation of strategic communications programs to support industry priorities.

“We’re excited to have Shelby join United’s communications team,” says Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications. “I know she will make a solid contribution to keeping members, stakeholders, and policymakers informed about United’s policy initiatives, education, and other programs.”

Rajkovich joins United Fresh after completing her service as a sustainable agriculture volunteer with the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa. While in the field, she distributed improved seed varieties to farmers and provided education for expanding vegetable production.

She has completed agricultural internships for Washington, D.C., policymakers, providing research assistance at USDA during the 2008 Farm Bill and more recently with the office of Senator Richard G. Lugar.

Rajkovich also conducted extensive research on the characteristics of biochar as a soil amendment while attending Cornell University, earning her the honor of Distinction in Research.

A native of Linden, California, Rajkovich was raised on a family farm of cherries, apples, and walnuts. She holds a degree in international agriculture and rural development from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Industry News, Labor & Employees, Ark Restaurants