The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf announced the appointment of John Dawson as the brand's new president and chief executive officer. He replaces Mel Elias, who will assume a position on the board of directors. Between now and Jan. 1, 2014, they will work together to ensure a smooth transition. Elias has served as president and CEO since 2008, and has been with the company since the brand opened its first franchise stores in Singapore in 1996.
Dawson comes from Dunkin' Brands, where he held various positions over the past eight years, most recently serving as the global development officer of Dunkin' Donuts. In that role, he crafted, implemented and executed an aggressive growth strategy for Dunkin' Donuts and led the day-to-day operations of franchising, development and construction. Prior to joining Dunkin' Brands, Dawson served as vice president of worldwide restaurant development at McDonald's Corp., responsible for setting the strategic direction for McDonald's global development. He earned a B.A. in both Economics and Political Science from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. and received a master's degree in Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Calif.
"It is with great enthusiasm that I take on the role of leading The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® in its next phase of growth," said Dawson, in a prepared statement. "I'm impressed with the iconic status of the brand, its 'People First' culture and its global footprint. I look forward to returning to my native Southern California and working with the management team to accelerate growth of this business. My primary focus will be on increasing our existing sales and store base, supporting our franchisees, delivering outstanding product quality and providing excellent customer experiences."