WILBRAHAM, Mass.-Friendly Ice Cream Corp. President and Chief Executive John L. Cutter has resigned, leaving temporary leadership of the restaurant chain to its chairman, Donald N. Smith, the company said last month.

Cutter has led Friendly since February 2003, and previously served as the president and chief operating officer from December 1998 to February 2003. Before joining Friendly, Cutter was chief operating officer of Boston Chicken Inc.

Smith has served as chairman of Friendly's board since 1988, and he preceded Cutter as CEO from 1988 to 2003. Smith will assume oversight of the company while a search is conducted for Cutter's replacement.

"We all recognize the importance of moving quickly to fill those roles," Smith said.

Friendly is a 71-year-old chain of 515.