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California Pizza Kitchen hires Texas Roadhouse chief as CEO

August 18, 2011|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

When choosing its new chief executive, California Pizza Kitchen Inc. went for a taste of Texas-style steak by way of Kentucky.

The new boss of the Los Angeles-based casual dining company will be G.J. Hart — recently CEO of western-themed chain Texas Roadhouse Inc., based in Louisville, Ky.

CPK said Thursday that Hart would replace co-founders Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax. The two former federal prosecutors launched the chain's first restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1985.

Last month, CPK was acquired by San Francisco private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $470 million. The company sells its food at more than 250 California Pizza Kitchen restaurants as well as in stadiums and the frozen food aisles of grocery stores.

Hart, who had been with Texas Roadhouse for a decade, will be replaced there by W. Kent Taylor. Taylor will remain chairman of the company as well.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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