August 18, 2010 // Franchising.com // WILBRAHAM, MASS. - Harsha V. Agadi has been named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Friendly Ice Cream Corporation ("Friendly's"), effective immediately.
With 24 years of foodservice industry experience, Agadi is known for his success with Atlanta-based Church's Chicken, where during his five years as president and CEO he grew system sales to exceed $1 billion. Following the 2009 sale of the company, Agadi continues to serve as a shareholder and board member.
"Harsha has an outstanding track record of helping classic American brands reach their full potential through tightly focused concept evolution and strategic growth," said Chris Metz, managing director of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. "We are confident that his insight, skills and experience will take this beloved brand to the next level."
Incumbent President and CEO Ned R. Lidvall has left the company to pursue other interests. Lidvall joined Friendly's in 2008 following his tenure as president and CEO of Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc., a privately owned company based in Boulder, Colorado.
After earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Bombay, Agadi moved to the U.S. in 1984, where he earned an MBA at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. He began his foodservice career focused on pizza, with positions at Pizza Hut, Domino's and Little Caesar's. In 2004, he led the purchase of Church's Chicken, where he was named president and CEO. The chain sold in 2009.
Agadi is the chairman and CEO of GHS Holdings LLC, and serves on the boards of Sbarro's Pizza, Crawford & Company, Bijoux Terner and the Fuqua School of Business, where he has established an endowment for female students of Indian origin.
"I was attracted to Friendly's because of the company's many great attributes - a strong heritage of delivering memorable meals to families who grew up with the brand, an outstanding premium ice cream product with strong distribution, loyal customers and devoted employees," said Agadi. "I am committed to reinvigorating this brand at the restaurant level while we continue to expand the Friendly's Express quick service concept to new markets. This is a great time in the life of the company and I look forward to working with my team to map out the future of the brand."
Exemplifying his commitment to the company, Agadi has also become an investor in Friendly Ice Cream Corporation.
Friendly's is an affiliated portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. ("Sun Capital"), a leading private investment firm specializing in leverage buyouts and investments in market-leading companies.
Friendly Ice Cream Corporation is a vertically integrated restaurant company serving signature sandwiches, entrees and ice cream desserts in a friendly, family environment with system-wide sales of $700 million and distribution through more than 4,000 retail locations. With a 75-year operating history, Friendly's enjoys strong brand recognition and is currently revitalizing its restaurants and introducing new products to grow its customer base.
Sun Capital Partners, Inc. is a leading private investment firm focused on leveraged buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies that can benefit from its in-house operating professionals and experience. Sun Capital affiliates have invested in and managed more than 200 companies worldwide with combined sales in excess of $40.0 billion since Sun Capital's inception in 1995. Sun Capital has offices in Boca Raton, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as affiliates with offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Shenzhen.