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ELGIN, Ill. -- John Matthews, the vice president of communications for Oak Brook, Ill.-based Clark Retail Enterprises Inc., will leave the bankrupt convenience store chain next month to become president of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shops.
A 16-year veteran of the foodservice industry, Matthews will lead the sandwich chain's nationwide expansion. According to Jimmy John Liautaud, founder and chairman of Jimmy John's, Matthews is a perfect fit for the burgeoning sandwich chain.
"John is a high-caliber operations- and numbers-focused guy who assisted in running a 1,200-unit chain for a long time. With a minimum of 200 stores scheduled to open in 2004, I needed a guy who has this kind of large-scale experience," Liautaud said. "I also needed a guy who was not so old that he knew it all, and young enough to be willing to learn from a maniacal founder and extreme type-A entrepreneur."
At Clark, Matthews was responsible for four divisions -- marketing, corporate communications, facilities and real estate -- for the 1,250-store retail chain, which is comprised of the Clark and White Hen Pantry brands.
Prior to joining Clark Retail Enterprises, Matthews spent nine years at Little Caesars Enterprises Inc., where he was involved in growing the company from 1,300 to 5,000 stores nationwide. As national marketing director, Matthews oversaw all marketing and advertising efforts for 1,600 stores. He also directed the $31 million advertising budget and developed a group sales program that resulted in $5 million in sales annually.
"Jimmy John's is the perfect fit, given my experience, my desire to be a part of a growth company and, as importantly, my personality," Matthews said. "I thrive on a fast-paced environment that likes to push the envelope, and Jimmy is the kind of entrepreneur that demands that type of
attitude and outlook from his people."