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Famous Dave's CEO resigns; interim chief is former McDonald's exec

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Minnetonka-based Famous Dave's announced a change in leadership Monday.

The Pioneer Press reports John Gilbert resigned as chief executive officer effective immediately and board member Ed Rensi stepped in as interim CEO of the barbecue restaurant chain.

Rensi has spent much of his career at McDonald's U.S.A, the newspaper says, serving as president from 1984 - 1991 and adding the title of CEO through 1997.

Gilbert stayed in Famous Dave's CEO office less than 18 months. WCCO called his departure a sudden change. Famous Dave's owns 54 restaurants and has another 142 franchises.

The Star Tribune says sales at the company have been in a holding pattern for the last few years. Famous Dave's plans to release fourth-quarter and full-year results for 2013 on Wednesday, but offered a preview in advance of that report.

2013 revenue was $155.4 million, which is nearly flat compared to 2012's $155 million, the Star Tribune notes. Income from operations was $7.7 million, which is up 25 percent.

Famous Dave's says in its announcement that gains in restaurant revenue were offset by declines in royalties and fees from franchises.

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