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GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -- Shakey's Inc., franchisor of the Shakey's pizza chain, has appointed Sonia Barajas-Najera its executive vice-president and chief operating officer.

According to a news release, Barajas-Najera has served as the controller and a corporate director of the company since 1999. The promotion makes her the company's senior-most U.S. officer. Shakey's is owned by Inno-Pacific Holdings Ltd., a Singapore-based company.

"The appointment of Ms. Barajas-Najera to this position is a recognition of her capability, integrity and commitment to Shakey's," Chin-Yong Wong, managing director and chief executive officer of Inno-Pacific, said in the release. "We are confident that she will be contribute significantly to Shakey's future as it enters into the next 50 years."

Shakey's has been without a president since the June 2002 resignation of Sean Flynn (see related story Flynn, president of Shakey's Pizza, resigns).

The pizza chain, which at one time had 450 U.S. restaurants, now has only 63 units. There are 450 Shakey's in Southeast Asia, but they are not under Inno-Pacific's ownership or oversight.

In December 2002, the majority of Shakey's current U.S. franchisees filed a $20 million class-action suit against Shakey's Inc. for breach of contract, accounting fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (see related story Franchisees of Shakey's pizza chain sue corporation for $20 million). The suit has yet to go to trial.

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