Established Franchise of 40 Years Appoints Industry Veteran Tom O’Keefe as President & COO and General Counsel, Joe Lewis, Returns to Executive Management
New Orleans, LA (RestaurantNews.com) Smoothie King Franchises, Inc., premier smoothie bar and nutritional lifestyle center, announced today its recent appointment of Tom O’Keefe as the company’s new President and Chief Operating Officer, along with the re-appointment of Joe Lewis—one of the original Smoothie King executives—as General Counsel. Coming in on the heels of the recent acquisition of the company by SK USA and executive leadership takeover by CEO Wan Kim , O’Keefe and Lewis will be key players on Smoothie King’s new management team, bringing with them over 50 years combined experience to help scale global growth for the franchise.
“Smoothie King is in the midst of an accelerated growth plan both nationally and internationally – which requires a seasoned leadership team to take this brand to new heights,” said SK USA CEO, Wan Kim . “We are thrilled to appoint Tom O’Keefe as President and COO; Tom is an ideal fit who understands the iconic success of four decades of the Smoothie King brand, with a unique depth of franchise and brand knowledge that will poise us for terrific growth in 2013 and beyond.”
“We are also excited to bring back Joe Lewis as General Counsel to the executive team, ” said Kim. “Joe was a critical team member in the early success of Smoothie King and this legacy knowledge will allow us to tap into the creative and driven mindset of the Smoothie King brand.”
O’Keefe is a seasoned executive in the franchise industry with past employment inclusive of high profile leadership roles at Anytime Fitness, Popeyes/Church’s and Ruth’s Hospitality Group. He will leverage over two decades of experience and bring a strong understanding of the current global franchise landscape to the rapidly growing Smoothie King brand. O’Keefe’s role will be focused on overseeing, developing and setting the direction for the company’s day-to-day operating activities. While serving as Senior Vice President at Anytime Fitness, LLC, the franchise eclipsed 2,000 units and entered seven new foreign markets.
Lewis, a strategic business-oriented franchise professional who grew Sicily’s Franchise Systems from under $1mm to over $10mm, returns to an executive seat at Smoothie King after thirteen years. An integral part of Smoothie King’s growth throughout the 90’s, Lewis helped expand the company from 39 stores to over 220 across 22 states. Under his management, system-wide revenues grew over $50mm. Lewis will utilize his franchise, trademark and corporate law experience to drive and further develop the company’s legal program, created by him during his original position at Smoothie King.
Both O’Keefe and Lewis are New Orleans residents, supporting the brand’s mission to create and maintain more jobs in Louisiana.
Smoothie King® is committed to providing guests a variety of healthy, delicious and functional meals for those on the go. Smoothie King has encountered three consecutive years of same store sales growth and in 2012 alone Smoothie King® experienced double-digit growth, is ranked number one juice bar for the 19th year by Entrepreneur and was honored in QSR Magazine’s first ever The Global 30.
About Smoothie King, Franchises Inc. // SK USA, INC.
Smoothie King Franchises, Inc. is a privately held; New Orleans-area-based franchise company and the premier Smoothie Bar and Nutritional Lifestyle Center in the industry. Smoothie King® offers guests the original nutritional fresh-blended smoothie and healthy retail products, including sports beverages, energy bars, healthy snacks, vitamin supplements, herbs, minerals and other sports nutrition products. Smoothie King® opened its first store in 1973 and started as the first franchised smoothie bar/health food store in the United States in 1989. Smoothie King® currently has more than 600 units operating in 32 states, the Caymans and the Republic of Korea. In 2012, Smoothie King® was ranked no. 1 by Entrepreneur magazine in the juice bar category for the 19th year and no. 122 overall on the 2012 Franchise 500 list. Visit www.smoothieking.com; engage on Facebook www.facebook.com/SmoothieKing; follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/smoothieking.
Saeger Media Group