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Trojan Leaves Guitar Center

Gregory Trojan has left his post as Guitar Center CEO to join BJ’s Restaurants, a 127-store, casual-dining chain headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif.

BJ’s announced that Trojan will join the company as president and a director effective Dec. 3. Gerald W. Deitchle, the company’s current chairman, president and CEO will retire as CEO effective Feb. 1, 2013, and Trojan will succeed him in that role. Deitchle will continue as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

In 2007, Trojan joined Guitar Center Holdings, Inc., the privately held retailer of music products with annual revenue in excess of $2 billion. Guitar Center currently operates 232 Guitar Center stores in 43 states and 109 Music & Arts stores in 22 states. Trojan initially joined GC as president and chief operating officer and a director. He became CEO in November 2010.

Prior to GC, Trojan served as CEO of House of Blues Entertainment and of California Pizza Kitchen, and held various positions within PepsiCo. Earlier in his career, Trojan was a consultant at Bain & Company and Arthur Andersen & Co. Trojan, 53, and his family currently reside in the Los Angeles area.

“BJ’s has cultivated a truly unique concept in the casual dining space,” Trojan said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing BJ’s great food and service to many more guests and markets to come.”

Trojan signed a five-year contract with the chain with a base salary of $850,000 annually. In addition, he will receive a $350,000 signing bonus, an annual bonus of no less than 80 percent of his salary and stock options — with an approximate value of $3.75 million — during the course of his contract.

At press time, GC had made no announcement on a successor to Trojan.