CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Dunkin' Donuts continues to undergo a changing of the guard. President and Chief Brand Officer William Kussell will leave at year-end, the company said today. Dunkin' CEO Nigel Travis, a former Papa John's exec who joined the company in December 2008, will assume Mr. Kussell's role of president.
"I am pleased I could stay here to assist Nigel during his first year as Dunkin' Brands CEO, but it is now time for me to pursue my goal of leading a business," Mr. Kussell, a 15-year company veteran, said in a statement. Longtime Dunkin' CEO Jon Luther stepped down at the end of 2008. "This has not been an easy decision for me to make given my passion for the Dunkin' Donuts brand, but it is the right decision for me as I look to the next stage of my career."
The company said there are no plans to name another chief brand officer. Mr. Kussell was appointed to his current position in January 2008.
"In the 15 years since Will joined Dunkin' Donuts, the company has grown from a regional donut chain with about 3,000 stores into the number one coffee and baked goods brand worldwide with more than 8,800 stores in 31 countries," Mr. Travis said in a statement. He credited Mr. Kussell with playing a "pivotal role" in the "America Runs on Dunkin'" campaign. "We would like to thank Will for his many valuable contributions during his tenure with Dunkin' Donuts, and we wish him well in his pursuit of broader executive responsibilities," Mr. Travis said.
"I am very proud of all we were able to achieve together with our franchisees during my time here," Mr. Kussell said. "I am confident I am leaving Dunkin' Donuts well positioned for the future."
Mr. Kussell joined the company in 1994 as senior VP-marketing and purchasing. In 1996, he was promoted to president, later served as retail concept officer, and then chief operating officer-Dunkin' Brands. In that position, he was responsible for marketing, operations, franchising, development, supply chain and strategic planning for Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo's sandwich chain.
Dunkin' remains the big brand in the company's portfolio, and despite its name, the chain has become more about coffee. The chain is embroiled in a hot coffee war with McDonald's and Starbucks, and recently revived the comparative "Dunkin' Beat Starbucks" campaign first launched last October. According to the company, Dunkin' Donuts' global system-wide sales grew 5% in 2008 to $5.5 billion. During that time, the company opened more than 1,300 new stores.
Dunkin's creative agency is Hill Holliday, Boston.