Papa John’s has appointed Ann Gugino as chief financial officer, effective as of today, October 5. Gugino brings with her over 20 years of experience in financial management, planning and strategic expertise, including in the consumer and retail sector. 

In her new role on Papa John’s executive leadership team, Gugino will help the pizza restaurant franchise build and implement long-term plans for growth. Steve Coke, who has been the interim principal financial and accounting officer since the departure of former CFO Joe Smith, will remain in his role as vice president of investor relations and strategy. 

Prior to her appointment at Papa John’s, Gugino was senior vice president of financial planning and analysis at Target, a position she had held since May 2018. While at Target, she directed the retail giant’s planning, analysis and capital investment portfolios. Previously, she spent 18 years at Patterson Companies Inc., including four years as executive vice president and CFO. There, she led the medical supplies conglomerate through a major portfolio transformation with the $1.1 billion acquisition of Animal Health International, the largest in the company’s history, and through the divestiture of the Patterson Medical business. While in that role, she also spearheaded an enterprise-wide effort to improve net margins and create a more efficient cost structure.

“I’m both humbled and excited to join such a dynamic and dedicated team at this important moment for the company,” Gugino said in a statement. “Papa John’s transformation into a values-driven, innovative category leader has opened an enormous global opportunity. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to help set a long-term path and plan to maximize our growth and potential for the benefit of all of our stakeholders.” 

One of the most immediate challenges Gugino will face in her new role is leading the pizza chain through the Covid-19 pandemic. As of last week, Papa John’s said that approximately 90 of its 2,100 international franchised stores remain temporarily closed, primarily in Latin America and Europe, while almost all traditional restaurants are open in North America. Some non-traditional restaurants in universities and stadiums are also still temporarily closed. Even so, sales are soaring. Despite the pandemic, system-wide North America comparable sales saw an uptick of 5.3% in the first quarter year-over-year, while the second-quarter saw an increase of 28%. System-wide North America restaurant sales have increased by 23.8% for the third quarter compared to the previous year, according to Papa John’s, which recently released sales results for September and its third-quarter fiscal period. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Papa John’s is the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company with more than 5,300 restaurants in 48 countries and territories.

“Ann is a proven leader and change agent, who brings deep experience in the consumer and retail sector, including driving demand and profitability across digital and traditional commerce at Target,” Rob Lynch, Papa John’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Ann’s appointment rounds out one of the most capable and diverse leadership teams in our industry.”

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