The Franchise Owner's most trusted news source

Log In / Register | Apr 24, 2018

Smashburger’s Top Brass Turnover Revealed in Latest Amended Disclosure

SmashburgerAfter anonymous sources revealed that Smashburger had fired not only its chief executive officer but also many of its top management team, Blue MauMau has now obtained the company's amended Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), effective December 29, 2016, on the California Department of Business Oversight website.

The latest disclosure shows changes to Smashburger's "Business Experience" section, revealing how top executives continue to move in and out of positions, some with affiliate companies, signifying the chain's chaotic management style and lack of leadership in running the 365-restaurant chain. Sources tell Blue MauMau the disarray is driven by owner/co-founder Rick Schaden's greed, showing total disregard for employees and franchisees across the country.

The amended FDD discloses that Michael J. Nolan, CEO and president since April 2016, is now out, being replaced in part by the company's co-founder Thomas Ryan, who also served as Smashburger's chief brand officer from May to November, 2016. Ryan took over the CEO position but not the presidency. He is also co-founder of Tom's Urban concept, and has served as its chief concept officer since October 2014. His credentials do not end there. Ryan also served as chief concept officer of Smashburger's affiliate Live Basil pizza chain, as well as for Consumer Capital Partners and Cervantes Holdings, all under the ownership of Rick Schaden, former owner and CEO of the troubled Quiznos sandwich chain.

Greg Creighton, employed by Icon Burger, another affiliate of Smashburger, is now president of the hamburger chain, in addition to being chief operating officer, a position he has held since October 2012. Creighton also served as president from July 2011 to October 2012, and was chief operating officer from June 2010 to June 2011.

Chief financial officer Dennis Smythe is also out, and Stacy Galligan has been named as Smashburger's interim CFO. According to one source who wishes to remain unnamed, Smythe "left abruptly" one week after CEO Nolan left the company. Smythe held the CFO position since 2013 and also served as CFO of Consumer Capital Partners from December 2014 to April 2016, a position he previously held for six months. And Smythe was the CFO of Consumer Capital Group for approximately two years. Prior to that, Smythe was CFO with the Quiznos sandwich chain (under QCE) in Denver, from October 2010 to March 2012. The amended FDD states that the newly appointed interim CFO Galligan served as Smashburger's vice president and controller from December 2013 to December 2016.

Smashburger's current chief legal officer and secretary Courtney L. Seely has been also employed by the company's Icon Burger Acquisition (IBA) affiliate since July 2016. Prior to that she was general counsel to Smashburger and Consumer Capital Partners beginning in June 2013. Seely also served as general counsel to Tom's Urban and Live Basil. And she was employed by Quiznos (QCE) as the company's executive VP, general counsel and secretary from August 2010 to October 2012. All her positions have been in Denver, Colorado.

John Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer, remains in his position which he began in July 2016. Gregg Koffler, senior vice president of franchise sales and administration since May 2016, and Dean DeNardi, senior VP of construction, design and facilities, since October 2016 were both employed by Icon Burger, and are no longer with Smashburger. Janice Branam became the franchisor's senior VP, operational excellence in December 2016 and was a VP of training, starting in January 2009.

Several board of managers at Smashburger remain including Richard E. "Rick" Schaden who also has management responsibility for the Smashburger program and the Tom's Urban program through his role as an investor in some of Smashburger's affiliates. Schaden has also been the CEO of Consumer Capital Partners and its predecessors, The Cervantes Holding Company in Denver, Colorado since May 2006.

One anonymous source stated that approximately 40 terminations have taken place in the last 30 days, which is almost half the corporate staff.

Related articles:

Smashburger Financial_Statements474.24 KB
Smashburger Franchise Disclosure Document, Dec 201616.77 MB
No votes yet

About Janet Sparks

Janet Sparks's picture

Public Profile

Janet Sparks is the former publisher of the Continental Franchise Review, an industry newsletter that covered the franchise community for over 30 years. She has also been a columnist for a leading franchise magazine for the past 13 years. Today she is an independent journalist who engages in investigative reporting, tackling complex issues that impact the franchise industry.

Janet can be reached at or at 303-799-7398.