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.
Shake Shack's Tara Comonte became president in addition to her role as chief financial officer while Black Bear Diner hired a new CFO. Several restaurants have also brought on new executives to fill the CFO position, including REGO Restaurant Group, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, Bojangles', Dave & Buster's and Red Robin.
Check out these and other recent executive changes below:
Shake Shack: The fast casual burger brand promoted Tara Comonte to the expanded role of president in addition to her role as chief financial officer, effective Oct. 1, according to a press release. In her expanded role, she will focus on scaling the company’s infrastructure, broaden support and guidance across day-to-day operations and ensure a successful execution of the company’s strategic priorities. She will continue in her role of overseeing finance, accounting, technology, internal audits and legal. Comonte joined the company in 2017.
Black Bear Diner: Steve Sparks is the company's new chief financial officer, according to a press release. He will report to Anita Adams, president, who previously served as CFO in addition to her role as president. Sparks will be responsible for the company’s accounting, finance, treasury and risk functions and be actively involved in franchise sales, real estate development and supply chain management. He brings more than 20 years of finance and administrative experience, most recently serving as CFO at American Blue Ribbon Holdings. He also has worked at O’Charley's, Ninety Nine, Village Inn, Bakers Square, Max & Erma's and Stoney River.
McDonald's: Chief communications officer Robert Gibbs is reportedly leaving the company in November, according to Restaurant Business. He joined the company in 2015 after serving as White House press secretary.
Inspire Brands: Christopher Fuller has become the company's chief communications officer, reporting to CEO Paul Brown, according to a press release. In this role, he will oversee communications initiatives related to brand reputation, government affairs, community relations and mergers and acquisitions, among others. He previously served as senior vice president of communications at Arby's. Prior to this role, he worked at Yum Brands and at PR firms Ketchum and Publicis and served as press secretary in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Juice It Up: The smoothie, juice and super fruit bowl chain hired Natalie Eaglin as director of marketing, according to Restaurant News. She previously worked at California Pizza Kitchen for seven years as director of marketing and beverage. In her new role, she will lead, develop and execute marketing strategies and programs as well as drive brand growth and franchise profitability.
Huddle House: The company hired Tim Linderman as chief development officer responsible for franchise development efforts, according to Nation's Restaurant News. He previously worked at Global Franchise Group as chief development officer where he was responsible for franchise sales across the multi-unit brand that includes Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, Pretzelmaker, MaggieMoo's Ice Cream and Treatery and Hot Dog on a Stick. He also has experience working at Primrose School Franchising Company and Arby's.
Cracker Barrel: James W. Bradford informed the company that he will not seek re-election to the board of directors and will retire effective the expiration of his current term, according to an SEC filing. He has been on the company's board since July 2011, becoming the independent chairman of the board in November 2012, according to the company’s website.
Noodles & Company: Chief Brand Officer Chas Hermann will leave the company on Jan. 31, according to an SEC filing. He will remain involved with the company during the transition. The company has begun searching for a new chief brand officer.
Disclosure: Falfurrias, the majority owner of Restaurant Dive's publisher, Industry Dive, previously invested in Bojangles'. Falfurrias has no influence over Restaurant Dive's coverage.