Panera Bread said Monday that it hired two executives from competitors Darden Restaurants Inc. and McDonald's Corp.

The casual restaurant chain said the new executives will help with its growth initiatives, including food innovation and improving its stores.

Panera named Drew Madsen as president Monday. For the past nine years, Madsen was president and chief operating officer of Darden, which owns the Olive Garden chain. He will report to CEO Ron Shaich.

The company also said that it hired Ken Koziol as president late last month. Koziol was executive vice president of McDonald's.

Panera Bread Co. is based in St. Louis and operates about 1,900 stores. Its shares slipped $1.05 to $183.31 in morning trading Monday.