As rumored last week, Steve Hanson is leaving BR Guest, the monster hospitality group that he founded over 25 years ago. As expected, The Full Hanson will be replaced by James Gersten, who previously worked as the president of Culinary Concepts Hospitality Group. Gersten will now work as the president and chief executive of the company. In 2007, Hanson sold BR Guest to Starwood Capital Group for $150 million, and now Starwood is described as the sole shareholder of BR Guest. In a statement sent to Nation's Restaurant News, Hanson explains:
After more than a quarter century working with some of the best people in the business, I am looking forward to pursuing the next stage of my career, but also deeply grateful for what we were able to accomplish at BR Guest...From the opening of the Coconut Grill on Manhattan's Upper East Side, to our expansion into Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Florida, BR Guest has been a truly rewarding experience and I am looking forward to watching it and the many talented people working there flourish and am committed to working toward a seamless transition.
No word yet on what Hanson has planned next. Over the last quarter century, he created wildly popular chains like Dos Caminos and Bill's Bar and Burger, as well as high-end establishments like Blue Water Grill, Primehouse, and Fiamma.
Although there were rumors that he was getting nudged out of the group, the NRN report notes that he's "stepping down to pursue other opportunities." Read more on Hanson's history with Starwood here.
· BR Guest Hospitality Names James Gersten CEO [NRN]
· Steve Hanson Rumored OUT at BR Guest [~EN~]
[Steve Hanson, photo by Patrick McMullan]