- CKE Restaurants appointed Max Wetzel as CEO, effective immediately, the company announced Friday.
- Wetzel, who resigned as COO from Papa Johns in February, succeeds Ned Lyerly, who had worked at CKE since 2001 in various positions. Lyerly served as CKE’s CEO for four years.
- Wetzel has nearly two decades of leadership experience in consumer brands and foodservice, according to his LinkedIn profile, including over nine years at Kraft Heinz.
While at Papa Johns, Wetzel oversaw the company’s marketing, operations and technology functions. He also helped lead the brand’s turnaround to reach growth and profitability, according to the press release.
This experience will help CKE as it navigates a $500 million overhaul of its restaurants. The company announced last May that it would invest this money into digital and physical transformations over the next four to six years.
Last year, the company said it would update over 500 restaurant locations across 20 markets. CKE will also invest $60 million in its corporate locations as part of this update. The company already had 95% of its stores committed to these redesigns, which will include new signage, brand statements, refreshed interiors and exterior digital menu boards.
The company also rolled out a brand refresh last fall that included a new “Happy Star” logo and other designed elements that invoke its charbroiled burgers. This logo was rolled out to employee uniforms, in-store signage, food packaging and advertising. Last March, the company debuted a loyalty program.
Wetzel joins a growing list of CEO changes across the industry this year, including at Modern Restaurant Concepts, Blaze Pizza, Norms and Restaurant Brands International.