Edna Morris serves as a Managing Director at Axum and as an Industry Expert for Axum’s Limited Service Restaurant investments (LSR). Her responsibilities at the Firm include identifying and evaluating potential transactions. As importantly, Ms. Morris also spends considerable time and effort to help manage Axum’s LSR investments and assist in bringing best-in-class leadership and operating techniques to Axum’s portfolio companies.
Ms. Morris brings over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, with a diverse background that includes public companies, turnarounds, start-ups, not-for-profit organizations, and positions on various boards. Previously, Ms. Morris served as President of several restaurant companies including Blue Coral Seafood & Spirits (a high-end seafood start-up venture jointly owned by OSI and Paul Fleming), Red Lobster (Darden Restaurants) and Quincy’s Family Steakhouse (Advantica). Ms. Morris also accepted a turnaround assignment as President of the James Beard Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to “celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity.”
Edna’s public board experience includes her current assignment on the board of NASDAQ-traded Tractor Supply Company, where she is Chairman of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Governance Committee. She also serves on the board of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group. Previously, she served on the board of Cosi, Inc., chairing the Compensation Committee and serving on the Governance Committee. Edna was a member of the Board of Trustees at the Culinary Institute of America and on the Advisory Board of Elliott Leadership Institute. She recently led the effort to publish Women at the Table, a book celebrating 20 years of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.
Edna’s leadership and contributions to the industry have been recognized. She was the first recipient of the Hospitality Motivator of the Year Award from Elliot Associates, named an NRN Power Player, and received a MUFSO Golden Chain Award. The Women’s Foodservice Forum honored Edna with their Trail Blazer Award. In 2009, she was awarded the Elliot Mentor Award. Edna serves on various panels and has delivered keynote addresses to various industry groups. Edna is a North Carolina native and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.