- Brian Jenkins is retiring as CEO and member of the board of directors at Dave & Buster's, effective Sept. 30, the company said on Tuesday. He will become a senior advisor to the CEO until Nov. 30 to help with the transition.
- Kevin Sheehan, chair of Dave & Buster's board, will be interim CEO until a permanent successor is hired.
- The CEO change comes as Dave & Buster's begins showing signs of recovery following a tumultuous year, which included a same-store sales decline of 87% during Q2 2020 and over 1,300 layoffs across seven states. Its Q2 2021 same-store sales increased 3.6% compared to the same period in 2019.
Jenkins helped lead the company through its toughest time, overseeing a new menu, optimized marketing efforts and technology investments. It also raised capital during the height of the pandemic by selling off millions of dollars worth of shares. Given the nature of its eatertainment operations, which relies more on dine-in customers, it had to wait longer for restrictions to ease to see signs of recovery. Reopening has been critical to its rebound, which led it to sue then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year over the state's decision to close arcades as part of its COVID-19 safety precautions.
The company has since seen record-setting cash flow as of Q2 2021 and has reduced its net debt outstanding by $90 million, boosting liquidity to $440 million by the end of the quarter, Jenkins said during the company's Q2 earnings call in September. During the quarter, it also added seven new games, expanded its programmed events in select markets and rolled out a mobile web-enabled platform to make it easier for customers to order and pay.
"Dave & Buster's is beginning a new phase of innovation, growth and value creation," Sheehan said in the press release. "Our focus remains on realizing the Company’s significant upside potential, as consumers' demand for immersive entertainment recovers and expands beyond pre-pandemic levels."
Given his 14-year tenure with the company, his departure will likely leave a hole in the company's leadership. He initially joined as CFO in 2006 and remained until 2018, a role that included helping the company go public in 2014. He became CEO in August 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.
"Brian successfully led the Company through the pandemic, and back to record-setting financial performance, while concurrently re-establishing a strong balance sheet," Sheehan said in the press release. "With those objectives achieved, Brian and the Board felt this was a good time to initiate this transition."