- Andrew Truett Cathy will become CEO of Chick-fil-A on Nov. 1, succeeding his father Dan T. Cathy, who has served as CEO since 2013, according to a company announcement.
- Dan Cathy will remain as chairman of the board while Tim Tassopoulos will continue as president and COO.
- Andrew Cathy, who has served as executive vice president of operations since 2019, will become the third member of his family to lead the chain in its 54-year history.
Given that many public company CEOs have an average tenure of just over six years, Chick-fil-A's leadership stability has likely helped the company's growth. Under Dan Cathy, the chicken chain's annual revenue grew from about $1 billion to $16 billion, according to the press release.
"As a privately held, family-owned business, Chick-fil-A is able to look at succession through a longer lens and approach a transition like this in a thoughtful and coordinated way," Dan Cathy said in a statement. "While rare in business today, deliberate, long-term succession planning provides us with stability and continuity at a time of tremendous opportunity."
Growing up with the brand gives Andrew Cathy in-depth knowledge of the chain that most CEOs don't have when they take the reins of a restaurant company. He has been groomed for leadership by his father and grandfather S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A's founder, according to the announcement.
Andrew Cathy started working at Chick-fil-A in 2005 as an operator in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2007, he joined the support center staff as a franchisee selection consultant and was named a member of the executive committee in 2015. The following year, he became Chick-fil-A's chief people officer.
Andrew Cathy will take over the chain during a time when many other restaurants have been working toward recovering lost revenue. Despite the pandemic, Chick-fil-A continues to boost revenue, and its average sales per store increased from over $4.5 million in 2019 to $5 million in 2020, according to QSR Magazine. Comparatively, McDonald's average sales per unit were relatively unchanged at $2.9 million in 2019 and 2020. Even though Chick-fil-A has some of the highest drive-thru times — an estimated 30% of cars leave the drive-thru lane due to long lines, Dan Cathy told the Atlanta Business Chronicle — its focus on providing high-level customer service keeps bringing customers back. Chick-fil-A also continues to score high for brand intimacy.
Andrew Cathy will also oversee the company's expansion into new channels, including virtual brands, as well as ongoing technology innovations. Chick-fil-A is launching three virtual concepts in Nashville this fall, which will include a self-delivery model. The company partnered with Kiwibot to test delivery robots in three Santa Monica restaurants earlier this year.