Industry News | September 1, 2011

Wendy's CEO Steps Down, To Be Replaced By Yum COO

Emil J. Brolick, the next Wendy's CEO.
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The Wendy’s Company announced that Emil J. Brolick will join Wendy’s as president and CEO, effective September 12. Brolick, who will relocate to the Dublin, Ohio, area, will also join the Company’s Board of Directors. He succeeds Roland Smith, who will step down from his role as president and CEO but serve as a senior advisor to the Company during a transition period with Brolick through the end of the year. Smith will remain on the Company’s Board of Directors.

“We are thrilled to welcome Emil back to the Wendy’s family,” says Nelson Peltz, chairman of The Wendy’s Company. “Emil is a proven brand builder in the restaurant industry who recently led the turnaround of Taco Bell and drove strong same-store sales growth. Emil was also one of the primary architects of Wendy’s strategy in the late 1980s, which produced 16 consecutive years of same-store sales growth for the brand. Emil is the perfect CEO to lead Wendy’s today—he is joining Wendy’s at a time when the company is performing well with strong sales momentum. Having recently sold Arby’s, we are now focusing our resources on driving sales, profits, and shareholder value at Wendy’s through continued new product development, re-engineering of the core menu, international expansion, and investment in the North America restaurants.”

Brolick was chief operating officer of Yum! Brands Inc., where he was responsible for driving operational excellence across the business, and most recently he was president of A&W All American Foods and Long John Silver's. Previously, Brolick was president of U.S. Brand Building for Yum and prior to that he was Taco Bell's president and chief concept officer. Under his leadership, Taco Bell delivered five consecutive years of same-store sales and profit growth to become the nation's leading Mexican-style quick-service restaurant chain.

Prior to joining Yum in 2000, Brolick worked at Wendy’s for 12 years, lastly serving as senior vice president of New Product Marketing, Research and Strategic Planning. During his tenure, Brolick worked closely with Wendy’s Founder Dave Thomas and executive management to deliver consistent sales growth for the brand, provide strong consumer insights, and drive excellence. Brolick holds a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Detroit, and is Chairman of the Board of Governors of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“Wendy's is one of the most attractive growth stories in the quick-service restaurant industry and I am excited to be rejoining the Company at such an important point,” Brolick says. “I look forward to working with the talented team at Wendy’s as we continue to execute on the many compelling growth opportunities available to Wendy’s brand. We will focus on building significant value for all stakeholders.”

Smith has been president and CEO of The Wendy’s Company since July 2011 and Wendy’s/Arby’s Group since September 2008. Smith previously served as CEO of Arby's, AMF, and American Golf, and held executive leadership positions at several other companies.

“Roland has done an extraordinary job positioning Wendy’s for growth and we thank him for his hard work and dedication over the years,” Peltz says. “Following the merger of Wendy’s and Arby’s in 2008, Roland immediately reorganized the Company and significantly improved profitability. Roland and his team then established Wendy’s ‘Real’ and ‘Fresh’ brand positioning and rebuilt the product pipeline, which is phenomenal and has just begun to be unveiled. Most recently, Roland and his team completed the successful sale of Arby’s and are in the process of moving the Company’s corporate headquarters to Ohio.”

“I am proud of where Wendy’s is today and believe the Company is well positioned to successfully execute on its key strategies,” Smith says. “As a board member, I look forward to providing support to Emil as Wendy’s builds on a strong foundation and continues to grow sales and profits. It was a difficult decision for me to step down as CEO, but the right one for personal reasons as my wife and I want to remain in Georgia close to our family. I also look forward to continuing my role as Chairman of Carmike Cinemas Inc., which is based in Georgia.”