Kristie Farnell joined Columbia Restaurant Group in July.
TAMPA — Kristie Farnell, who has worked in executive financial roles for several companies, was named CFO of the Columbia Restaurant Group.
She replaces Dennis Fedorovich, who is leaving but will remain with the company as an adviser and on the board of the company, according to a statement. The Columbia Restaurant Group, which dates back to 1905 and is headquartered in Ybor City, has 12 locations, under the brands Columbia, Ulele, Goody Goody and Cha Cha Coconuts and some 1,400 employees.
Fedorovich says the move was part of a long-term succession delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Farnell, who started with the Columbia in July, most recently worked as Controller at PDQ Restaurant group, with other experience at Walkabout Air Inc. and Navigant Consulting Inc.
“Growing up in Florida, I have had the pleasure of eating at many of the Columbia locations more times than I can count,” Farnell says in the statement. “And working in the restaurant industry for the past nine years, I have heard so many great things about the Gonzmart family and their story. I am excited about the opportunity to work for such a successful company and wonderful group of people.”
Fourth-generation Columbia Restaurant Group “caretaker” Richard Gonzmart praised Farnell for the innovation and ideas she already has brought to the company. He also noted Fedorovich’s dedication in postponing his plans, staying with the company to help deal with pandemic closings, reduced-capacity limits and other challenges.
“When Dennis started here in 1995, we were in a tough financial situation,” Gonzmart says in the statement. “He helped give me confidence in the financial numbers again, and through hard work and good planning, we were able to be successful. I wish him the best, and I’m glad he still will be available to advise and consult.”