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Former Pepperidge Farm CEO appointed to local board

As First Watch continues to scale business, the board's chair says Irene Chang Britt's leadership experience will provide "invaluable insights and advice."

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  • | 5:00 p.m. August 2, 2023
Irene Chang Britt brings several years of leadership experience to the First Watch board.
Irene Chang Britt brings several years of leadership experience to the First Watch board.
Photo by Nancy Guth
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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A former CEO for Pepperidge Farm recently joined the board of a local daytime dining concept. 

Bradenton-based First Watch Restaurant Group Inc., which went public in 2021, appointed Irene Chang Britt to its board of directors. She joins members Ralph Alvarez, Julie Bradley, Tricia Glynn, William Kussell, Stephanie Lilak, David Paresky and Chris Tomasso, who is also the company’s CEO and president. 

Chang Britt has several years of experience serving as president and divisional CEO at Pepperidge Farm. She’s also a former senior vice president for Campbell Soup Company and held several leadership positions during stints with Kraft Foods Inc. and Nabisco, which was acquired by Kraft in 2000.

While at Campbell’s, Chang-Britt, grew the 75-year-old brand by 30% annually.

“Irene is a leader with a long track record of driving transformative growth, particularly at global food and beverage brands, and she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our board,” First Watch chair Ralph Alvarez says in a release. “We look forward to her invaluable insights and advice as we continue to scale the First Watch brand.”

In May, the company acquired six franchise-owned First Watch restaurants in Omaha, Nebraska. At the time, Tomasso noted that acquisitions of franchise-owned First Watch locations would be an important part of the company's growth strategy.

Chang Britt moved to Bird Key eight years ago with her husband, Tony, after they decided to retire and move to Florida, but Chang Britt stays busy. She currently sits on the boards of pet health care innovation company IDEXX Laboratories, insurance company Brighthouse Financial and fashion retailer Victoria’s Secret and Co. 

In October 2021, First Watch Restaurant Group Inc. was the first major company to go public in the Sarasota-Bradenton region in 15 years. The company's shares are traded on the Nasdaq, under the symbol FWRG. It posted $730.16 million in revenue in 2022, up 21.45% from $601.19 million in 2021. It has over 480 restaurants across 29 states and is majority owned by private-equity firm Advent International. 

“First Watch is an inspired brand with ambitious goals, and I’m eager to become a part of the company at such an exciting point in its history,” Chang Britt says. “I look forward to working alongside my fellow board members, as well as the executive team, and further enhance the opportunity for First Watch to grow and realize long-term success.”



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