Potbelly Shares Flattened As CFO Resignation Prompts Analyst Downgrade

Shares of Potbelly Corp. tumbled 8.7% in afternoon trade Friday, after the sandwich and salad chain's announcement that its chief financial officer resigned prompted a downgrade by Piper Jaffray. Analyst Nicole Miller Regan cut her rating two notches to underweight, after being at overweight since she started coverage of the company in Oct. 29, 2013. The company went public on Oct. 4, 2013. Regan also slashed her stock price target to $12 from $16. The company said late Thursday that CFO Charlie Talbot was resigning, effective March 27, to accept a senior leadership role with a nonrival company. Regan said Talbot was "the glue" of the company and referred to him as "Team Captain." She wrote in a note to clients that his departure "lessens credibility with investors" and makes fundamental upside unlikely. The stock has gained 2.5% in the past three months, compared with a 1.8% rise in the S&P 500. Meanwhile, it has lost more than half its value since it closed at $30.77 on its first day of trading, which was more than double its initial public offering price of $14.

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