February 3, 2016 – Heidrick & Struggles has placed Adam Wright as chief executive officer of Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. He joined the company as interim CEO after the resignation of former CEO Ed Rensi last June.
Mr. Wright has served on Famous Dave’s board of directors since 2013, while serving as managing partner of Blue Clay Capital Management, a Minneapolis-based investment partnership he co-founded. Prior to establishing Blue Clay, Mr. Wright worked at Whitebox Advisors, UnitedHealth Group and Goldman Sachs.
“We are impressed with the steps Adam has taken to move the business forward since his appointment as interim CEO six months ago,” said board chairman Joseph Jacobs. “As a longtime investor, he understands the challenges that the company faces and the opportunities ahead. We are confident in his leadership and strategy for the future.”
“Adam has already demonstrated that an improved guest experience is a top priority in every capacity – the value, the experience, and the food,” said founder Dave Anderson. “He cares deeply about the company and the team. We are very excited for the future of the brand.”
Famous Dave’s of America develops, owns, operates and franchises barbeque restaurants. The company owns 49 locations and franchises 132 additional units in 33 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Canada.
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Heidrick’s global CEO search practice includes a team of 90 consultants who provide leadership advisory services and succession planning expertise to clients that include Fortune 1000, FTSE 350, and other global organizations as well as start-ups and small/medium cap companies. Jeff Sanders serves as vice chairman and managing partner of the firm’s North American chief executive officer practice.
Heidrick has filled a number of CEO roles for various companies recently, including Edward D. Breen as chairman and CEO chemical maker DuPont as well as Bradley C. Jones as president and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), a corporation responsible for operating New York state’s bulk electricity grid. Southwest Gas Corporation also recently tapped Heidrick to lead the CEO search for its construction services subsidiary Centuri Construction Group, Inc.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media