ST. LOUIS, May 11, 2015 – Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ: PNRA) has named Drew Madsen president effective May 11. He will report to Ron Shaich, chairman and CEO. Madsen will oversee the core café business, while Shaich focuses on strategy, growth initiatives and innovation across the company.

Madsen served as president and COO of Darden Restaurants Inc., the world's largest full-service restaurant company. During his nine years in that position, the casual-dining company's number of restaurants grew by 61%, sales grew 81% and earnings per share doubled, leading to a total shareholder return of 110%. During his time as President and COO, Darden was the first restaurant company to be recognized as a Fortune "100 Best Companies to Work For," achieving that distinction in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

He also previously served as president of Darden's Olive Garden chain and was Olive Garden's executive vice president of marketing prior to that.

Before that, Madsen was president of International Masters Publishers, and vice president/general manager of James River Corp. He began his career at General Mills, where he spent 12 years, progressing from marketing assistant to vice president of marketing. He received his bachelor's degree from DePauw University and his master's in business administration from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

In addition, Ken Koziol joined Panera as executive vice president on April 27. Koziol will oversee a range of cafe support functions.

Koziol comes to Panera from McDonald's, where he served as executive vice president, Worldwide Chief Restaurant Officer. In that position, he oversaw worldwide operations support, design, equipment, innovation, mobile, delivery, training, safety and security.

Before that, Koziol led McDonald's corporate innovation function. While at McDonald's, he also served as vice president, Worldwide Restaurant Innovation; vice president, Worldwide Quality Assurance; and senior director, U.S. Supply Chain Management. Koziol received his bachelor's degree from Northeastern Illinois University and his master's degree in business administration from Northern Illinois University.

Ron Shaich, chairman and CEO, commented: "We are excited to welcome Drew and Ken to Panera, rounding out the strongest senior leadership team we've ever had. This is a pivotal time for Panera as we continue to make progress on initiatives to make Panera a better competitive alternative with expanded growth opportunities. Both Drew and Ken are talented and accomplished executives who will augment our organizational capabilities as we work to improve the guest experience through Panera 2.0 (inclusive of digital access and improved operational capabilities); drive consumer excitement through innovation in food, marketing and store design; and build capabilities to grow in adjacent businesses, including catering, delivery and consumer products. Given the strength of our plan and our team's ability to execute that plan, I am evermore confident we will achieve our mission of positioning Panera for significant earnings growth for years to come."

About Panera Bread Company

As of March 31, 2015, there were 1,901 bakery-cafes in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® or Paradise Bakery & Café® names. We feature high-quality, reasonably priced food in a warm, inviting and comfortable environment. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by chicken raised without antibiotics, whole grain bread, and select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans-fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor and free Internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on our website,