US doughnut maker and retailer Krispy Kreme has named Stephen Cooper as its new CEO, replacing Scott Livengood who has retired from the position of chairman, president and CEO of the company.

Krispy Kreme said the management change was one of a number of “important actions to address the company’s current situation”. The company has been struggling over the last year, with US sales hit by the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.

Steven Panagos has been named president and chief operating officer. Cooper is the chairman and Panagos is a managing director of Kroll Zolfo Cooper, which the company has retained to be its financial advisor and interim management consultant.

James Morgan, who has served as a director of Krispy Kreme since July 2000 and vice chairman since March 2004, has been elected chairman of the board of Krispy Kreme. In addition, Robert Strickland, a Krispy Kreme director since 1998, has been elected vice chairman.

The company also announced that the results for its fourth quarter ending 30 January 2005 have been, and may continue to be, adversely impacted by significant sales declines. For the eight weeks ended 26 December 2004, systemwide and company average weekly sales per factory store have decreased approximately 18% and 25%, respectively, compared to the corresponding weeks of the prior year.

Krispy Kreme said results are also being adversely affected by legal and regulatory costs, and the company warned it may report a loss for the current quarter.