Los Angeles Business Journal

Coffee Bean Names New CEO, Elias Moves to Board

By Justin Yang Originally published December 4, 2013 at 3 p.m., updated December 4, 2013 at 4:41 p.m.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has named John Dawson president and chief executive, replacing Mel Elias, who served in those roles for five years.

The change, effective Jan. 1, brings in Dawson, an eight-year veteran of Dunkin’ Brands, most recently serving as global development officer at Dunkin’ Donuts.

“My primary focus will be on increasing our existing sales and store base, supporting our franchisees, delivering outstanding product quality and providing excellent customer experiences,” Dawson said in a statement.

Elias, who has been president and chief executive since 2008, will move onto the privately held Los Angeles coffee company’s board of directors.

“In my new position on the board, I look forward to assisting in the continuing success of the company over the coming years,” Elias said in a statement.

In an interview with the Business Journal earlier this year, Elias, who joined the company in 1996, was serving as chief operations officer when the CEO’s position came open in 2008. “I put a business plan together, I presented to the board and I made my case for a five-year plan to head the company,” he said.

The change follows the September acquisition of a “significant” stake in the Los Angeles company by a consortium of private equity investors. Boston’s Advent International, CDIB of Hong Kong and Mirae Asset Private Equity in Seoul acquired the stake for an undisclosed amount.

Coffee Bean executives were not available for further comment.

The company has more than 900 company-owned and franchised stores across 30 countries.