Meet Damola Adamolekun: The History-Making 33-Year-Old Nigerian Who Is The First Black CEO Of P.F. Chang’s

Black talents are representing big across the globe and we’ve got one more proof! At just 31, Damola Adamolekun became the CEO of the famous restaurant chain P.F. Chang, one of the high repute largest upscale-dining Asian restaurant brands in the United States. He’s been leading the company since 2020.

Business-centric with wings spread via partnership with different companies where he owns major share including Paulson & Co – the investment group that joined forces with TriArtisan Capital Advisors to buy P.F. Chang’s for $700 million in early 2019 from private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners, he continuously helms strategic initiatives ensuring P.F. Chang’s success.

Previously, Adamolekun has worked in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and as a Private Equity Associate at TPG Capital. Mr. Adamolekun serves on the Board of Directors for International Tower Hill Mines (NYSE: THM), P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (private), NuLeaf (private), and Inday (private).

Under his leadership, the brand has embraced several changes to improve customer experience including revamping the dining rooms, revising the menu items as well as powering the inclusion of delivery and to-go orders which was seen as not fitting with the brand in times past.

Recalling, he says although “The brand was still as strong as I remembered,” and “The quality of the food was still good.” “What was missing was the experience around the meal,” he said. “The lighting was too bright. The music was non-existent.” The décor? “Beige central,” he said.

Even with the pandemic, the company witnessed a boost, racking a 31.7% increase in sales in 2021 compared to the previous year according to Top 500 chain data from Restaurant Business sister firm, Technomic.

Adamolekun in a chat with Insider, opened up on how he begins his day at 6:00 a.m. examining reports from his home office.

“First, I review our daily flash reports, which detail restaurant operating performance from the previous day and period to date. I make notes of any interesting observations, questions, or oddities from my review to discuss with our COO Art Kilmer later in the morning,” Adamolekun explained.

Adamolekun earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Brown University where he was a member of the Ivy League champion Brown Football team and served as President of the Brown Investment Group, and his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School where he served as Portfolio Manager for the HBS Investment Club.

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