College of Business, Frazier Hall, PNC Horn Auditorium, BS106


The Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence invites you to enjoy food, networking, and fun as we spend the evening with UofL Alum, Jim Holthouser, CEO of Focus Brands.

Space is limited so REGISTER TODAY!

*Special thanks to McAlister's Deli who is generously providing our food for the evening.


Jim Holthouser is the Chief Executive Officer for Focus Brands, parent company of Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, McAlister’s Deli®, Schlotzsky’s®, and Seattle’s Best Coffee® (in certain military bases and in certain international markets). He is leading Focus Brands into its next phase of growth for its seven foodservices concepts while delivering value to all company partners, driving results and profitability for franchisees and an exceptional customer experience.

For more than thirty years, Jim Holthouser has leveraged his extensive experience in international business, franchising, brand management and global product development to grow and some of the world’s most well-known brands in the hospitality industry. Under his leadership, hospitality-related companies have thrived with innovative and customer-focused solutions to grow and reinvigorate brands, improve loyalty, create cost savings, and drive revenue and unit growth.

While a senior executive at Hilton, Jim was responsible for a $36B international portfolio of 15 leading hotel brands covering more than 5,000 locations across 105 countries. He directed worldwide brand marketing; product and brand development; owner relations; and the 75 million-member Hilton Honors guest loyalty program. Additionally, he launched five new hotel brands – the most successful brand launches in the company’s 100-year-history – and instituted high-impact digital innovations and apps system-wide.

In his storied career at Hilton, he held several leadership positions, the most recent of which was EVP of Global Brands, Marketing and Loyalty. In addition to 13 individual brands, Jim had responsibility for a number of support disciplines including food and beverage concepts, meetings and events programming, sustainability, spa and fitness, and guest technology. Jim is a transformative leader with a long track record of improving brand performance, customer satisfaction and owner profitability.

Jim earned both an MBA from the America Graduate School of International Management as well as a B.A. and an M.A. in Economics and Political Science from University of Louisville. He has served on boards and advisory councils, including the Executive Committee at the American Lodging Association, and multiple credit unions, hotels, and nonprofit organizations. Jim is fluent in German, conversant in French, and is also a trained pianist with a number of recordings to his credit. He has been married to Bettie for more than 30 years and has two grown children, Kate and Adam.

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