This is the latest installment in a series that highlights major executive changes at top fast casual, QSR and casual dining chains over the past week.
Following a year with several significant CEO changes, including the firing of McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, Black Bear Diner begins 2020 under new leadership with the promotion of Anita Adams from president to CEO. Co-founder and former CEO Bruce Dean will remain as executive chairman. While some chains are bringing on new leadership following ongoing struggles, such as Red Robin, others are transitioning following the retirement of long-time CEOs, such as at Yum Brands.
Check out more executive news below:
Black Bear Diner: Anita Adams was promoted to CEO from president, according to a press release shared with Restaurant Dive. The company also hired Jeff Guido as chief operating officer. Bruce Dean, co-founder and former CEO, will remain as the company's executive chairman. Adams, who has over two decades of experience at public and private companies, joined Black Bear Diner as chief financial officer in 2017 and was promoted to president in 2019. She also worked at American Blue Ribbon Holdings, VICORP Restaurant Group and First Data Corporation, among other companies. Guido was previously president of the family restaurant division at American Blue Ribbon Holdings.
Subway: The company eliminated Len Van Popering's position of chief brand and innovation officer as part of a reorganization effort meant to slow unit growth declines. Chief legal officer Bethany Appleby plans to leave the company in January, and Ilene Kolbert will replace her.
BBQ Holdings: Jim Gilbertson has been appointed chief financial officer of the company, according to a press release. Gilbertson has over 20 years of experience as CFO for public companies, including Children's Broadcast Corporation, Navarre Corporation and Granite City Food & Brewing. He most recently served as CFO of Bluespire, a digital marketing agency.
McDonald's: The global fast food chain promoted Lucy Brady, who served as the company's SVP of corporate strategy and business development, to the newly created role of chief digital engagement officer, according to an email obtained by Restaurant Dive. She will oversee the digital customer engagement team, which will lead global digital efforts, including ordering, personalization, payments, loyalty and delivery. Marketing Technology, which is led by Bob Rupczynski, and global delivery teams will join the digital customer engagement team reporting to Brady.
Wingstop: The QSR chain promoted Mahesh Sadarangani to chief operating officer from SVP of channel strategy, according to a press release. He will be responsible for domestic operations. He replaces Lawrence Kruguer, who will leave the company in March. Sadarangani has over 20 years of experience and served at CEC Entertainment prior to joining Wingstop in July 2019. Some of the initiatives he oversaw as SVP of channel strategy included the national delivery rollout, in-restaurant pricing strategy and growth of non-traditional locations.
Farmer Boys: David Wetzel has been hired as SVP of operations where he will oversee both company and franchise restaurant operations, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. He will also play a key role in defining strategic direction for the brand and oversee field execution. He has over 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry and over two decades with QSRs, most recently serving as Del Taco's VP of franchise operations. He also worked at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, El Pollo Loco and Taco Bell.
Red Robin: The casual dining chain terminated Guy J. Constant's employment as EVP and chief operating officer without cause. Michael Buchmeier, SVP and chief people officer, will serve as interim COO while the company looks for a replacement.
Rave Restaurant Group: Clint Fendley has become the company's VP of finance, according to a press release. His previous position was as data analytics and strategy manager of new concepts at 7-Eleven, where he also served as senior financial analyst and international finance manager. He also held positions at Price Waterhouse and Davenport & Company.