November 15, 2012 // Franchising.com // ST. LOUIS, MO – Panera Bread Company (Nasdaq: PNRA) announced today that it elected Diane Hessan as a new independent director to its Board of Directors. With the election of Ms. Hessan, Panera’s Board has increased from six directors to seven. Ms. Hessan was elected as a Class III director, with a term expiring in 2013.
“Over the past year, we have been working hard to identify additional qualified, independent directors with proven growth and innovation experience to join our Board,” said Ron Shaich, Founder, Chairman of the Board and Co-Chief Executive Officer. “We are extremely pleased to announce the election of Diane to Panera’s Board. She is a first-class executive, business strategist and entrepreneur, and we look forward to benefiting from her wealth of relevant experience and expertise in company-building, marketing and research, areas that are critical to the continued success of our company.”
Diane Hessan, 57, is President and CEO of Communispace, a leading next-generation market research company. A pioneer in creating online communities to help marketers generate consumer insights, Ms. Hessan founded Communispace in 1999.
Ms. Hessan has spent her 30+ year career helping companies become customer-focused – both as a business executive and as co-author of the best-selling book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage. She has received many awards and citations for her leadership and workplace innovation, including Ernst & Young’s Regional Entrepreneur of the Year and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year.
Ms. Hessan has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Advertising Research Foundation, The Business Innovation Factory, the Progressive Business Leaders Network, the Mass Technology Leadership Council, Horizons for Homeless Children, The Boston Philharmonic, Stand for Children, and the Tufts University Board of Trustees.
A summa cum laude graduate of Tufts University, Ms. Hessan also received an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Panera Bread Company owns and franchises 1,625 bakery-cafes as of September 25, 2012, under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® and Paradise Bakery & Café® names. We feature high quality, reasonably priced food in a warm, inviting and comfortable environment. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain bread, and select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans-fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor and free Internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need.
Additional information is available on our website, http://www.panerabread.com.