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NATIONAL REPORT -- Royal Buying Group (RGB) has been busy recently, announcing three appointments, two new hires and one promotion. The Lisle, Ill.-based company appointed Sharon Porter, Mike Small and Darrin LiCausi to its vendor department.
Porter was named director of vendors/business development. She joined RBG in 2003. She will now be responsible for new opportunity development, field merchandising, foodservice, coffee category management and vendor relationships. Porter has more than 20 years of convenience store/petroleum industry experience, including working as a field consultant for Southland Corp./7-Eleven.
Small was appointed Royal Buying's senior category manager. He joined RBG in February as a business consultant. He now oversees development, negotiations and securing of national programs and promotions. Small began his career in 1991 with PepsiCo.
LiCausi is RBG's new category manager. He joined the company in 2008. He is responsible for the tobacco and general merchandise categories. LiCausi began his career as an associate buyer for Montgomery Ward's.
Newly hired are Khatija Ali and Jill Aimone. Ali, a statistical assistant, handles data analysis, report generation and distributor order placement. She holds a bachelor's degree from DePaul University. Aimone, RBG's new administrative assistant, is responsible for vendor marketing coordination, lead communication, networking events coordination and department scheduling. She earned a bachelor's degree from Eastern Illinois University.
In addition, James Kern was promoted to junior system/network administrator. He has served RGB since 2004 when he was hired as a data analyst. He oversees maintenance, repairs and general upkeep for information technology matters.
In other industry people news:
Jim Hyatt was named CEO of Church's Chicken. The 35-year industry veteran was most recently president and CEO of Cosi Inc., a fast-casual restaurant chain. Prior to his four-year stint at Cosi, Hyatt was an executive and franchise owner at Burger King Holdings Inc. for 16 years.
"We are pleased to bring the talent and track record of Jim Hyatt to Church's Chicken," said Tully Friedman, Church's board chairman. "Jim's unique blend of executive, field and franchisee experience, and exceptional history of driving operational and performance enhancements in restaurant concepts, will be a tremendous asset as we continue to grow the business and consistently deliver the best possible dining experience to our customers."
Hyatt succeeds Mel Deane, who was Church's CEO since 2009.
Finiti Branding Group LLC
Tom Hartman was named the company's vice president of sales. He will oversee the growth of sales and distribution channels within Finiti's national division, which includes relationships with McLane Co., Coremark, Grocery Supply Co., H.T. Hackney, Eby-Brown, Dot Foods and Liberty USA.
Hartman previously spent more than 20 years at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., where he was employed in several regional sales positions.
"We are excited and thrilled to have Tom join our family," said Russell Stone, president of Finiti Branding Group. "His experience and understanding of both the tobacco industry and firsthand experience with wholesalers will be key to our continued growth."
Heartland Payment Systems
The company's petroleum division named Alan Levine its director of national accounts, and Christie Crush its manager of national accounts. Levine brings 28 years of petroleum and convenience store experience to Heartland. He will be responsible for expanding Heartland's SmartLink suite of managed services. He previously spent 15 years as a senior executive with VeriFone and three years as a vice president at Bennett Pump.
Crush will be working with Heartland's major oil companies, convenience store chains, mid-tier marketers and fleet accounts. She previously served Chase Paymentech as director of client services for six years. She also was vice president of customer relations for Bank of America for 15 years.