Industry News | January 1, 2000

Wendy's Appoints Schuessler CEO

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Dave Thomas to Continue As the Company's Senior Chairman Wendy's International, Inc. (NYSE: WEN) announced March 17 that the board of directors has named John T. Schuessler as chief executive officer and president of the company, effective immediately.
Schuessler, 49, previously was president and chief operating officer, Wendy's U.S. Operations. Wendy's Founder R. David Thomas continues as senior chairman of the board.

"Jack has provided outstanding leadership and delivered excellent results during his 25-year career at Wendy's," said Thomas. "He has the right combination of restaurant industry experience, management skills and strategic planning ability to lead our organization. I am very confident about our future under Jack's direction. He has the support of the board of directors, a strong management team at Wendy's and Tim Hortons, a great group of franchisees and the commitment of our employees."

Schuessler continues as a board member and fills the Company's top officer position. Former Chairman, CEO and President Gordon F. Teter died unexpectedly in December 1999.

Reporting to Schuessler are Paul House, president and chief operating officer of Tim Hortons; Frederick R. Reed, chief financial officer; plus the Wendy's operations, development, marketing, research and development, and human resources departments.

"The great news is that we've started the 2000 business year strongly after the Company delivered outstanding sales and earnings performance in 1999," said Thomas. "Overall results in January and February are very encouraging. Jack has focused the senior management team and our entire organization on delivering another great year."

"My goal and the challenge for our company is to improve shareholder value," said Schuessler. "We raised our performance levels in many key areas during 1999 and plan to deliver excellent results again in 2000.

"We've made progress growing systemwide sales, raising average unit volumes to record levels at both Wendy's U.S. and Tim Hortons Canada and expanding Wendy's domestic operating margins to a 14-year high. We also delivered high-quality earnings growth, significantly raised return on invested capital performance and maintained a very solid balance sheet."

Schuessler said the company plans to build on the positive momentum in 1999 and execute the corporation's long-term strategic plan, which includes:

  • Enhancing Wendy's and Tim Hortons' superior quality brand positions.
  • Maintaining the Company's commitment to its successful long-term strategies that focus on outstanding restaurant operations, superior marketing, aggressive and responsible development and a performance driven culture.
  • Maximizing the core Wendy's North America and Tim Hortons Canada businesses.
  • Meeting or exceeding the Company's goal of 12-15% annual Base EPS growth.
  • Continuing to make progress on the Company's strategic initiatives, including share repurchase.
  • Maximizing organizational strengths and core competencies.

"We've delivered outstanding results over the past decade in restaurant operations, franchising, brand building, marketing, market research, new product development and supply chain management," said Schuessler.

"We will focus a great deal of energy on further improving our performance in the key areas of our business and we intend to analyze opportunities for growth and innovation in restaurant development, strategic alliances and technology applications," Schuessler added.

"Our corporate strategy also includes developing growth platforms to complement our strong Wendy's business in North America and Tim Hortons in Canada. For example, while we are in the early stages with our Tim Hortons U.S. business, our sales performance is encouraging, our restaurant operating performance is improving and we are building a base of excellent franchisees."

Schuessler Joined Wendy's in 1974.

Schuessler began his career at Wendy's in 1974 as a manager trainee for a franchisee in Atlanta. When the franchisee's stores were acquired in 1976, he joined the Company. He was promoted through the Wendy's organization, holding the positions of district manager, director of area operations and regional director in various markets throughout the U.S.

In 1983, he was promoted to regional vice president of Wendy's eastern division. In 1984, he was named zone vice president. In 1986, he was named division vice president and then in 1987 he was promoted to senior vice president of the northeast region. He held the position of senior vice president until February 1995 when he was promoted to executive vice president, U.S. Operations.

In February 1997, Schuessler assumed additional responsibility for day-to- day operations of Wendy's domestic restaurants when he was named president and chief operating officer, U.S. Operations. During the past year, he also assumed responsibility for Wendy's of Canada.

Schuessler has received numerous operator awards from the Company and in 1995 was inducted into Wendy's Hall of Fame.

Since 1998 he has been a trustee of Wendy's National Advertising Program (WNAP), a group appointed by Wendy's franchisees to provide strategic marketing counsel to the Company.

Schuessler has been involved in the Company's corporate affairs efforts as chairman of Wendy's internal government relations task force and externally as a founding member of the Employment Roundtable, an industry group made up of top officers of restaurant companies interested in influencing legislative efforts on a national basis.

He received a B.S. from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.