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.
This week marked two new CEO appointments, with FOCUS Brands and Checkers & Rally's under new leadership. So far this year, Roti, Boston Market, Paris Baguette and Black Bear Diner have brought on new CEOs. These appointments appear to be a natural course of business, but last year revealed several new leaders joining brands in need of a turnaround, including Red Robin, Bloomin' Brands, Papa John's and Subway, while McDonald's CEO was fired over a consensual relationship with an employee.
Check out this week's executive news below:
Focus Brands: Jim Holthouser has been appointed CEO, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. He will succeed Steve DeSutter, who is retiring after serving in the position for six years. Holthouser has over 30 years of experience in brand development, concept innovation, franchise management and digital marketing. He most recently was EVP, global brands, marketing and loyalty at Hilton Worldwide and served at the company for over 20 years in various strategic and brand management roles.
The Cheesecake Factory: The casual dining brand expanded its board of directors from seven to eight members, appointing Janice L. Meyer as an independent member, according to a company release. She will serve on the audit committee of the board and stand for election at the 2020 annual meeting of stockholders. She has 20 years of experience in sell-side research and investment banking covering the restaurant industry at Credit Suisse AG, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Morgan Stanley. She co-founded Rellevant Partners, a private equity firm focused on lower mid-market restaurant and food and beverage companies.
Taco John's: The 400-unit Mexican fast food chain hired Kelly Hopper as CFO, according to Restaurant Business. She most recently worked at TGI Fridays and 7-Eleven. She started her career at Ernst & Young prior to moving to Yum Brands and Pizza Hut.
Rusty Taco: Brendan Mauri has been promoted to president of the Inspire Brands restaurant, according to a company announcement. In this role, he will be responsible for the growth of the brand's company-owned restaurants and its relationships with its franchise community. He will report to chief growth officer Christian Charnaux. Previously, he served as senior director of marketing at Rusty Taco. He also worked as senior director of marketing for Main Event Entertainment, director of marketing for Chili’s, and for Applebee's.
Creating Culinary Communities (C3): The newly formed company hired former Smashburger CFO Bradford Reynolds as chief operating officer, according to Nation's Restaurant News. The company, which is a partnership between SBE Entertainment Group, retail developer Simon Property Group and hotel partner Accor, plans to develop a national network of ghost kitchens and delivery brands. Prior to his work at Smashburger, Reynolds worked as an investment banker for about 10 years.
Checkers & Rally's: The QSR chain hired Frances Allen as its CEO, succeeding Rick Silva, who will leave the company after 13 years as president and CEO, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. Allen previously worked as CEO of Boston Market, where she implemented a multi-faceted transformation plan. She also served as president of Jack in the Box from 2014 to 2018. Additionally, she has held positions at Denny’s, Dunkin' Donuts USA, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, PepsiCo and Frito-Lay.
Papa John's: Amanda Clark has become the company's chief development officer and will lead the company's strategy to continue expansion in North America and internationally. The former Taco Bell executive will oversee franchise development and sales, building design and new concepts and facilities support to existing restaurants. She previously spent seven years at Taco Bell, most recently as EVP of restaurant experience. She also worked at Procter and Gamble for about 12 years, according to a press release.