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(July 24, 2001) -- Applebee's International, Overland Park, Kan., late today announced that Julia Stewart, president of its domestic division, will leave the company on Aug. 17.

"We appreciate Julia's dedication and many contributions to Applebee's," Chairman-CEO Lloyd Hill said in a statement. "During her tenure, the Applebee's concept has grown by nearly 30% to more than 1,300 restaurants today."

Ms. Stewart joined Applebee's in the fall of 1998.

In addition, Applebee's has begun a search to find a chief operating officer, a new position. Carin Stutz, senior vice president of company operations, will fill the post on an interim basis.

The company also named John Cywinski its chief marketing officer, a newly expanded role. He was most recently at McDonald's Corp. as vice president of brand strategy.

Mr. Cywinsky was earlier vice president of U.S. marketing for Diageo's Burger King Corp. and president of marketing for Buena Vista Pictures, the motion picture division of Walt Disney Co. He began his career with Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett.

Mr. Cywinski will report directly to Mr. Hill, and he will be responsible for marketing and advertising as well as menu and new product development. -- Kate MacArthur

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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