New Orleans-based Smoothie King Franchises has appointed Tom O'Keefe as the company's new president and COO, along with the reappointment of Joe Lewis — one of the original Smoothie King executives — as general counsel. Coming in on the heels of the recent acquisition of the company by SK USA and executive leadership takeover by CEO Wan Kim, O'Keefe and Lewis will be key players on Smoothie King's new management team, bringing with them more than 50 years combined experience to help scale global growth for the franchise, Kim said.
"Smoothie King is in the midst of an accelerated growth plan both nationally and internationally – which requires a seasoned leadership team to take this brand to new heights," Kim said. "Tom is an ideal fit who understands the iconic success of four decades of the Smoothie King brand, with a unique depth of franchise and brand knowledge that will poise us for terrific growth in 2013 and beyond."
O'Keefe is a seasoned executive in the franchise industry with past employment inclusive of high profile leadership roles at Anytime Fitness, Popeyes, Church's and Ruth's Hospitality Group, Kim said. He will leverage more than two decades of experience and bring a strong understanding of the current global franchise landscape to the rapidly growing Smoothie King brand. O'Keefe's role focus on overseeing, developing and setting the direction for the company's day-to-day operating activities.
"We are also excited to bring back Joe Lewis as general counsel to the executive team," said Kim. "Joe was a critical team member in the early success of Smoothie King and this legacy knowledge will allow us to tap into the creative and driven mindset of the Smoothie King brand."
Lewis, a strategic business-oriented franchise professional, who grew Sicily's Franchise Systems from under $5 million to more than $10 million, returns to an executive seat at Smoothie King after 13 years. An integral part of Smoothie King's growth throughout the 1990s, Lewis helped expand the company from 39 stores to more than 220 across 22 states. Under his management, systemwide revenues grew over $50 million. Lewis will utilize his franchise, trademark and corporate law experience to drive and further develop the company's legal program, created by him during his original position at Smoothie King.
Both O'Keefe and Lewis are New Orleans residents.
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