ZRG Partners Recruits CEO for Playa Bowls
April 26, 2023 – Bruce Robertson and Dan Searby of ZRG Partners recently placed Dan Harmon as the new chief executive officer of superfruit bowl chain Playa Bowls in Belmar, NJ. He succeeds Playa Bowls’ co-founder Rob Giuliano, who will remain engaged with the company as chief innovation officer and continue to play a critical role in Playa Bowls’ strategic development. “Harmon has an exceptional reputation for exceeding business objectives and franchisee relationships in the restaurant industry and will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow and develop our company,” said Mr. Giuliano. “Throughout his career, Dan Harmon has established himself as a leader who builds strong teams, drives great business results and develops trust with team members and franchisees. We’re incredibly honored to have someone of his caliber join the Playa Bowls team.”
Mr. Harmon is a seasoned and accomplished franchise and restaurant industry veteran with leadership experience from some of the industry’s most recognized and successful brands. Most recently, he was the president and chief operations officer at Smoothie King, where he launched several transformative initiatives focused on profitability, productivity and ease of operations. Prior to that, Mr. Harmon spent more than three decades growing his passion for franchising and refining operational processes with Papa Murphy’s, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Blockbuster and McDonald’s. He contributes his professional success to prioritizing franchisee wins, beginning with the end in mind and then purposefully designing a path to greatness.
As CEO, Mr. Harmon will leverage his industry experience to continue to build on the brand’s unique strengths and assume responsibility for accelerating its overall growth strategies and performance.
“I’m thrilled to take on this new opportunity and role. Playa Bowls is a unique brand with a combination of high-quality superfruit menu items, exceptional franchisees and passionate team members,” said Mr. Harmon. “There is a tremendous opportunity to grow the brand and mission nationally, and I’m looking forward to working closely with our leadership team and franchisees to make that happen.”
Since its inception in 2014, Playa Bowls has emerged as a leader in the national superfruit bowl shop segment. Today, the brand has 175-plus shops systemwide, operating in 20 states. Under Mr. Harmon’s leadership, Playa Bowls intends to continue to expand its domestic footprint across the U.S.
ZRG also recently placed David Krisher as the new CFO of Playa Bowls. Mr. Krisher previously served as CFO of Krystal Restaurants and before that he held the same title at Ascent Hospitality Management. During his career he has gained experience serving in various finance positions with Huddle House, BlueLinx, and National Restaurant Development.
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ZRG, founded in 1999, is a progressive mid-sized global executive search firm. With the financial backing of private equity investor RFE Investment Partners, ZRG is among the fastest growing firms in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle-management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology.
ZRG Partners Recruits CEO for Oasis Marinas
ZRG Partners has assisted in the recruitment of Kenneth Svendsen as the new chief executive officer for Oasis Marinas, a provider of third-party marina management services. Dan Searby and Brian Meany spearheaded the assignment. “We are thrilled to have Kenneth join the Oasis team,” said Matt Shipman, president of Oasis Marinas. “Kenneth is a proven leader, and his decades of experience in the hospitality industry will position Oasis to expand on our customer service successes and continue to provide high-quality and unique experiences for boaters across the country.”
Mr. Robertson is global head of ZRG’s financial officer practice and a senior member of the firm’s CEO and board recruiting practices. His primary focus is in the C-suite, with a strong emphasis on financial officers across the consumer, industrial, hospitality, and healthcare sectors. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to those financially sponsored by leading private equity firms. Over the past 30 years, Mr. Robertson has been a leader in the executive search industry, having counseled chairman, presidents, and CEOs on a wide range of talent and leadership issues.
Mr. Searby is a managing director with ZRG. He has spent his entire career in the consumer and retail/foodservice sectors, working on both the manufacturer and multi-unit operator sides before entering executive search in 2005. Mr. Searby has led extensive CEO and president-level searches and in the last 10 years; 78 percent of his searches have been at the C-suite level across all functions, and 71 percent of his searches have been conducted on behalf of private equity or private capital portfolio companies.
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Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media