Industry News | April 7, 2006
Burger King Names John Chidsey CEO
The Board also announced that Brian Swette, a current independent director, would serve as non-executive chairman. In addition, Ben Wells, 52, senior vice president and treasurer, has been promoted to chief financial officer and treasurer.
Greg Brenneman, Burger King's former chairman and CEO, is returning to his private equity firm, TurnWorks Inc., to pursue business turnarounds. Brenneman joined Burger King Corporation in August 2004 to lead a very strong senior team that together has accomplished eight consecutive quarters of positive comparable sales growth. Brenneman has agreed to continue to work with the Board of Directors as a consultant in connection with the transition.
"I was brought into Burger King by my longtime friends at TPG, Bain Capital, and GS Capital Partners to lead the ongoing turnaround of the company," said Brenneman. "As the company enters this important next phase, the Board and I discussed the commitment necessary for any CEO in a public environment and my career and family goals. As a result, together we decided that the best time to transition leadership was prior to Burger King's initial public offering. I have tremendous confidence in John Chidsey, senior management, Burger King employees and the franchisees, and I look forward to cheering them on every step of the way as a significant shareholder of the company."
In a statement, the Board of Directors said: "We are extremely pleased with the progress Burger King has made under Greg's leadership. He told us when he came that he wanted to transition the leadership of the company to John Chidsey at some point. We are confident that now is the right time to set in motion the next phase of the company's development. John is a highly qualified leader who has served as an integral member of the management team. With experience in managing global and franchise brands, including Avis, Budget, Jackson-Hewitt and PHH, John brings outstanding leadership acumen, including important skills in franchisee relations and the ability to build a global business. We have great confidence in John and the executive team and their ability to lead the company beyond this important phase, and we are confident that the company will execute a smooth transition as the brand continues to move forward.
"We have known Greg for a long time, and his vast experience and drive for fast-paced change has been invaluable to the brand. We thank Greg for the progress that has been made and look forward to his continued counsel and friendship."
Chidsey said, "I am excited to take the reins as CEO at such an important time in the company's history. I have enjoyed working with Greg, and I look forward to continuing to work with the rest of Burger King's extremely talented management team as we continue to build a company in which employees and franchisees can take pride."
Prior to serving as Burger King's president and CFO, Chidsey served as president of the Americas and president of North America at the company. Before joining Burger King in March 2004, Chidsey served as chairman and CEO for two corporate divisions at Cendant: the Vehicle Service Division, a $5.9 billion division, which includes Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car Systems, and the financial services division, a $1.4 billion division that includes Jackson Hewitt and PHH. Previously, Chidsey was the CFO of Pepsi- Cola Eastern Europe and the CFO of PepsiCo World Trading Co. Inc.
Chidsey holds an MBA in finance and accounting and a law degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., as well as a bachelor's administration degree from Davidson College, Davidson, N.C. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Georgia Bar Association.
Wells has more than 25 years of experience in finance. Before joining Burger King Corporation, Wells spent 15 years at Compaq with his last position as vice president and corporate treasurer. Prior to that, he served in various finance roles at British Petroleum. The Board said, "Ben is a seasoned finance leader with an impressive track record."
Swette has served on Burger King's Board since April 2003. From 1998 to 2002, Swette served as COO of eBay in San Jose, Calif.
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