Famous Dave’s Has A New CEO…Again

Mike Lister is a former executive and current owner of several Famous Dave's franchise locations.

Famous Dave’s shook up its leadership for the fourth time in as many years as it replaced CEO Adam Wright on Wednesday with Mike Lister, a franchise owner and former executive with the company.
Wright, an activist investor, took the job less than a year ago, but the company has continued to sputter. The company said Lister owns one of Famous Dave’s most-successful franchise groups and has deep industry experience to help guide the company. In addition to serving as chief executive, the company also named him chief operating officer.
“[Lister] gives us full confidence that he is the right leader to continue the efforts to turn Famous Dave’s around,” chairman of the board Joseph Jacobs said in a statement. “His vision, operational excellence and management skills will be a tremendous asset in leading the company to improved financial and operation excellence.”
Lister served as the senior vice president of operations for the company from 1997 to 2001, helping to open 46 stores during his tenure. Following that, the Star Tribune reports that he opened five franchise locations in Tennessee.
Wright, for his part, is returning to a job in the “investment world,” he said in an email announcing the decision. He was officially named CEO in December 2015 after serving as interim. He was previously a founding partner of Minneapolis-based Blue Clay Capital.
“During my tenure, I believe we have positioned the company for positive turnaround and am especially proud of the team I assembled and the numerous accomplishments we implemented,” Wright said.
Wright cited several initiatives that he said were helping to turn the company around, including a focus on food quality, recruiting founder Dave Anderson back to the company, strengthening franchisee relationships and rebuilding the executive team.
Famous Dave’s announced in late September that it would update menu and store décor as a way to recapture customers.