DEERFIELD, ILL. — Carin L. Stutz has been named chief executive officer and president of Cosi, inc., effective Jan. 1, 2012. Ms. Stutz also will join the Cosi board of directors.

Ms. Stutz most recently was president of global business development at Brinker International, Inc., where she was responsible for leading all aspects of franchise development and operations for 240 Chili’s and Maggiano’s restaurants. Prior to joining Brinker, she was executive vice-president of operations at Applebee’s International, Inc. Earlier, she was the Pacific Division vice-president at Wendy’s International; regional operations vice-president at Sodexo, U.S.A.; and vice-president of corporate operations at NutriSystem, Inc.

“Carin is a proven leader with deep operational, marketing and business development experience,” said Michael O’Donnell, c.e.o. 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.”

Ms. Stutz received a bachelor of science degree from Western Illinois University and a master’s of business administration degree from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She is the chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

“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,” Ms. Stutz said. “My mission is to energize the Cosi brand and the guest experience.”

Cosi’s board of directors also announced that Stephen F. Edwards will become executive chair on Jan. 1. Mr. Edwards will work with the company’s management team to refine the long-term strategic plan, explore opportunities to raise capital and communicate with various external constituencies, and he will serve as a liaison between management and the board.

Cosi is a national fast-casual restaurant chain that operates 80 company-owned and 57 franchise restaurants in seventeen states, the District of Columbia and the United Arab Emirates.