- Alex Macedo, president of Tim Hortons, will step down from his role in March, according to a press release.
- Axel Schwan was appointed president of Tim Hortons for Canada and the U.S. in October and will add Latin America to his role.
- Other international locations and restaurant growth will be led by Restaurant Brands International's existing global leadership team.
2019 was a tough year for Tim Hortons. Comparable sales were down 1.4% during the third quarter, compared to Burger King and Popeyes, which posted comparable sales growth of 4.8% and 9.7%, respectively, during the third quarter. Tim Hortons also reported a meager 0.5% growth in the second quarter and 0.6% decline in the first quarter of 2019.
Macedo came to the brand in December 2017 after a stint as president of Burger King's North America division during a time when the chain faced franchisee troubles and sluggish sales. He helped grow better franchisee relationships and bolstered sales in the U.S at Burger King, according to The Globe and Mail. But his strategies didn't seem to translate to Tim Hortons, which has been struggling since 2014, when Burger King bought the brand and created Restaurant Brands International.
In 2018, the company started a multi-year plan to modernize and expand its distribution network in Canada to better support restaurant owners and improve the guest experience. That plan included two new warehouse facilities as well and expansion of an existing one, but will cost the brand about $76 million. Sales continued to stall even after this plan was set in motion.
Beverages continue to be a problem for the brand as well, and the company plans to improve by adding new equipment to its beverage program along with a premium donut line, according to Restaurant Business. This year it launched a plant-based breakfast sandwich and burger, following the success of Burger King's Impossible Whopper, but has since scaled it back.
The company is now taking on more of a long-term strategy going forward, working on several objectives such as a better beverage program, remodels and a new loyalty program.
Because Restaurant Brands International hasn't named a replacement for Mercado, it appears the business could be splitting the president role between Schwan, who has been with the company since 2011 when he worked for the Burger King brand, and other existing leadership. This move shows the company is trying a new leadership direction as well, one that will likely be focused on international growth and expansion. Tim Hortons already plans to expand into Thailand, for example, and is planning to open over 1,500 units in China by 2028. Separate leadership could create a more focused approach on each region, but it also runs the risk of not having a cohesive global brand approach, which the company very much needs to gain momentum as it expands.