Focus Brands Appoints New Supply Chain, Customer Engagement and Digital Leaders

ATLANTA, Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Focus Brands®, parent company of iconic brands including Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, McAlister’s Deli®, Moe’s Southwest Grill® and Schlotzsky’s®, today announced the addition of three new leaders to its supply chain, digital, and customer engagement functions.

The following executives will be leading these key business functions within the company:

  • Christopher McNutt, SVP of Supply Chain
  • Urvi Patel, SVP of Customer Engagement & Experience
  • Manuel Valdes, SVP of Digital, Data & Marketing Technology

“At Focus Brands, we’ve invested in platforms, tools and resources to support our brands’ ability to grow. More importantly, we’re investing in the right talent to build industry-best technology and supply chain capabilities,” said Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands. “The addition of top-tier talent like these three individuals to our organization ensures continued success for our brands and franchisees.”

Christopher McNutt is Focus Brands’ new SVP of Supply Chain. He will be responsible for overseeing the supply chain, distribution, logistics and quality assurance functions for all seven brands in the Focus Brands portfolio globally. This role is responsible for strategic planning and directing all aspects of policies, objectives and initiatives for each supply chain function to ensure adaptable and scalable solutions. He will lead the Supply Chain team in creating even more value for brand franchisees, identifying and capturing synergies across all brands, leveraging combined purchasing power, and providing shared capabilities. Chris brings more than 20 years of experience in pricing, logistics and supply chain to Focus Brands. A trusted advisor in the industry, he serves as Treasurer on the National Restaurant Association Supply Chain Expert Exchange Board. For the past 17 years, Chris has held senior leadership positions at Centralized Supply Chain Services LLC, the purchasing cooperative for Applebee’s and IHOP.

Urvi Patel has been promoted to Focus Brands’ Executive Leadership Team and named SVP of Customer Experience and Engagement, leading customer engagement and loyalty, branded currency, revenue management, insights and digital experience. Joining the company in 2019 as the Vice President of Insights, Analytics and Revenue Management, she successfully spearheaded a Voice of the Customer program that provides multi-dimensional insights for all seven brands. With over 20 years of experience in leading cross-functional business teams and tackling complex business challenges, Urvi brings a unique perspective to her role, leveraging her expertise in corporate and brand strategy, franchisee engagement, and analytics. Prior to joining Focus Brands, she spent 10 years with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where she progressively advanced through numerous leadership positions across the organization, including Owner and Franchise Services, Corporate Strategy and New Brand Strategy. Urvi started her career in Corporate Finance at Ernst & Young in London, England and continued to grow her career in M&A and business valuation in Atlanta at The Home Depot and Kroll.

Manuel Valdes joins the company as SVP of Digital, Data & Marketing Technology. In this newly created role, he will build and lead the technology strategy for Focus Brands’ digital and data platforms, AI and machine learning-based analytics as well as marketing and advertising technologies. Manuel is a seasoned technology leader with over 30 years of experience in digital and e-commerce transformation throughout industries and markets worldwide. Previously, Manuel served as the Chief Technology Officer of Central Group in Thailand where he executed a comprehensive multi-year digital and e-commerce transformation across the company’s entire portfolio, including department stores, groceries, electronics, and international operations in Europe, Vietnam and Asia.

About Focus Brands 
Atlanta-based Focus Brands® is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. As of June 25, 2023, Focus Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,600 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes, and bakeries in all 50 states and over 60 countries and territories under the Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, and Schlotzsky’s® brand names, as well as the Seattle’s Best Coffee® brand on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit to learn more. 

SOURCE Focus Brands

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