Board of Directors
Mr. Uba has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Kura Sushi USA since 2008 and became a member of our board of directors in October 2017. He joined the Company’s parent, Kura Sushi, Inc., in 2000 and in 2008 was selected to establish and grow Kura Sushi USA. From 2004 to 2008, Mr. Uba headed operations for Kura Sushi, Inc., where he oversaw operations for Eastern and Western Japan. During this time, Mr. Uba was responsible for the expansion of the Kura brand into Eastern Japan and managed over 100 restaurants. From 2000 to 2004, Mr. Uba spent three years as a restaurant manager and one year as a regional manager. During his tenure, Kura Sushi, Inc. grew from approximately 30 to 180 restaurant locations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kansai University in Japan.
Shintaro Asako has served as a member of our Board of Directors since the completion of our initial public offering on August 5, 2019. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bulldog Advisory Inc., a California professional firm specializing in board and executive consultation services, where he has served in such capacity since August 2019. From 2011 to July 2019, he served in various management capacities with DeNa Co., Ltd., a developer of mobile game and online services, including as Chief Financial Officer and regional Chief Executive Officer & Chief Financial Officer of its western operations. From 2006 through 2011, Mr. Asako served as the Chief Financial Officer at MediciNova, Inc. Prior to his services with MediciNova, Inc., Mr. Asako held various positions at KPMG LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP, providing a variety of audit, tax, and business consulting services to multinational clients. Mr. Asako currently serves on various public and private company boards of directors, including 7-Eleven, Inc., Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd., Inglewood Co., Ltd., and Medmain, Inc. Mr. Asako holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California Leventhal School of Accounting and is a certified public accountant from the state of California. Mr. Asako possesses strong knowledge and experience in financial management, strategic planning as well as background in regulations for publicly listed companies both in the United States and Japan, making him qualified to serve as a member of our Board of Directors.
Ms. Ellis has served as a member of our board of directors since December 2019. Ms. Ellis co-founded and currently serves as Development Consultant at Artizen Advisors, a commercial retail advisory services company that works with private equity backed growth brands looking for new market feasibility, market penetration and asset management. Prior to Artizen, she was Chief Development Officer for the leading experiential indoor sky diving concept, iFLY, where she led the development growth strategy and successfully opened four locations. Before joining iFLY, Ms. Ellis served as Chief Development Officer for Piada Italian Street Food, and as Senior Vice President of Development at Regis Corporation, the world’s largest salon company. Prior to Regis, she was the Executive Vice President of Development for Panda Restaurant Group, Inc, where she led the company’s growth and development endeavors, and was instrumental in expanding the Panda Express brand by over 500 locations. Ms. Ellis graduated from George Mason University.
Mr. Ishii has served as a member of our board of directors since October 2018. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of IIOSS K.K., a Japanese professional consulting services firm specializing in organizational development and financial management (“IIOSS”), where he has served in such capacity since 2008. From 1980 to 2005, he served in various management capacities with Applied Materials, Inc., a semiconductor equipment company, including Regional Chief Financial Officer in Japan as well as positions within global human resources and global operations. Prior to his service with Applied Materials, Inc., Mr. Ishii served as an internal audit manager for Gulf & Western, Inc. and prior to that as a staff accountant with Peat Marwick & Mitchell, predecessor to KPMG LLP. Mr. Ishii holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Pace University.
Carin Stutz has served as a member of our Board of Directors since December 1, 2021. Ms. Stutz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Native Foods, a 100% plant-based fast casual eatery. Previously, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. where she led operations for the casual dining chain. During her tenure, she realigned the operations team for improved efficiency, resulting in the Company’s improved P&L. Before joining Red Robin, Ms. Stutz served at FOCUS Brands LLC as President of the McAlister’s Deli brand and positioned the brand for rapid growth, moving from nine openings to more than 44 openings a year, including franchise development. Prior to FOCUS Brands LLC, Ms. Stutz served at various leadership capacities, including President and Chief Executive Officer at Cosi bakery-café, President of Global Business Development at Brinker International, Inc., Executive Vice President of Operations at Applebee’s International, Inc., and Division Vice President at Wendy’s International, Inc. Ms. Stutz currently serves on the board of directors of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. and is an active member of the Fast Casual Industry Council, the Illinois Restaurant Association Board, and most recently, a founding member of the GLEAM Network Board of Directors.