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, several restaurant chains made leadership changes that could have dramatic impacts on the future of their brands, with Chick-fil-A adding two new board members and CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, hiring a new CEO.
Check out other critical leadership changes below:
El Pollo Loco: Brian Wallunas has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president of digital marketing, effective April 22. He will be responsible for making loyalty a bigger part of El Pollo Loco's marketing and will lead its digital strategy to enhance brand awareness across multiple channels. He has 15 years of digital experience, and has held roles at Arby's and Domino's.
Dutch Bros Coffee: Rick Anguilla joined the chain on April 1 as its first chief marketing officer overseeing the marketing and communications strategy as the brand expands to over 800 locations in the next five years. He has more than 20 years of experience and most recently provided consulting services through his firm, Guidance Counsel, and has also served at Nike and Under Armour.
McDonald's: Karen Garcia has been hired as the fast food chain's new U.S. vice president of franchise relations, according to Restaurant Business. In her new role, she will work with the internal franchise leadership organization and diversity groups, as well as serve as a go-between with the U.S. leadership team and operators. She will also oversee collaboration regarding the company's 2020 vision, which includes the company’s remodel program. She has worked at McDonald's for several decades, most recently serving as general manager for the Florida region.
Black Bear Diner: Anita Adams has been promoted to president and CFO and Steve Standlea is now chief operating officer. Adams was previously the restaurant's CFO and Standlea most recently served as senior vice president operations support at the restaurant. Both joined the company in 2017.
Chick-fil-A: Cheryl Bachelder, interim CEO of Pier 1 Imports and former CEO of Popeyes, and Dale Jones, CEO of Diversified Search, have been named board member of the QSR chain, according to Nation's Restaurant News.They joined the board after the recent departure of two directors, James McCabe and Steve Robinson.
CKE Restaurants: Ned Lyerly has been promoted to CEO of the company, which owns Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. He has served as the company's international president since 2014 and has worked at the company for more than three decades. Lyerly succeeds Jason Marker, who has been CEO at the company since 2017.