DEERFIELD, Ill., Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cosi, Inc. (NASDAQ: COSI), the premium convenience restaurant company, today announced the appointment of Carin L. Stutz as the company's new Chief Executive Officer and President beginning January 1. She also will join the Cosi Board of Directors. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111212/AQ21169) "Carin is a proven leader with deep operational, marketing and business development experience," said Michael O'Donnell, CEO of Ruth's Hospitality Group and a member of the Cosi board and search committee. "She is a respected leader with a track record of innovative strategic brand building, and an impressive record of accomplishment, having held leadership positions at several of our industry's leading companies. Her energetic leadership and broad perspective will drive our company forward." Stutz (55) joins Cosi from full-service restaurant leader Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) where she was President of Global Business Development, leading all aspects of franchise development and operations for 240 Chili's and Maggiano's restaurants around the globe. Prior to joining Brinker, Stutz was Executive Vice President of Operations for Applebee's International, Inc. She oversaw more than 1,900 company-owned and franchise restaurants in 49 states. Prior to Applebee's, she was the Pacific Division Vice President for Wendy's International; served as Regional Operations Vice President for Sodexo, U.S.A., and was Vice President of Corporate Operations for NutriSystem, Inc. Stutz holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Mid America Nazarene University. She is the Chair of the Women's Foodservice Forum, a leading organization in the food service industry dedicated to developing gender-diverse leadership talent. "I am thrilled at the opportunity to lead this talented management team and help build a great future for the Cosi brand, our employees, franchise owners, and all who invest in our success," said Stutz. "My mission is to energize the Cosi brand and the guest experience."