Restaurant Brands International announced Tuesday that CEO Jose Cil is stepping down, effective March 1.
He will be replaced by Josh Kobza, who's served as COO since January 19. His base salary will increase from $840,000 to $900,000, and his annual target bonus opportunity will grow from 185 percent to 200 percent of his annual salary. Cil will serve in an advisory role for one year and will be paid $200,000.
RBI, the parent of Burger King, Popeyes, Firehouse Subs, and Tim Hortons, did not give a reason for Cil's departure; only that it was part of its ongoing succession plan process.
"On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank José for his unwavering dedication and passion for growing our restaurant brands and for the progress we have made, most recently evidenced by our latest quarterly results. José has been an exceptional partner and friend and he has all of our thanks and support as he becomes a valued strategic advisor to the company," said Patrick Doyle, a former Domino's CEO and the company's executive chairman, in a statement.
Cil was promoted to CEO in early 2019. Prior to that, he worked about 18 years at Burger King. The industry veteran's first tenure was from October 2000 to January 2010 where he served in multiple roles, including vice president of U.S. company operations. After a nine-month stint at Walmart, he returned to Burger King in November 2010 and stayed there for eight years, serving as president of Europe, Middle East, and Africa markets and president of Burger King.
Under his leadership, the company in 2021 acquired Firehouse Subs for $1 billion. It's also been focused on a multi-year comeback plan for Tim Hortons; Cil told QSR that going back to winter 2020, he spent “more than half of his days” in preceding months focused on triggering a Tim Hortons turnaround in Canada." And most recently, RBI triggered a $400 million "Reclaim the Flame" turnaround strategy for Burger King. That comprises $150 million for advertising and digital investments and $250 million for technology, kitchen equipment, building enhancements, and remodels/relocations.
"We've made great progress over the past few years and I'm very proud of the team we have built at RBI. I've worked closely with Josh for many years and I am looking forward to supporting him through this transition as we work to accelerate our business further," Cil said in a statement.
Kobza has spent 11 years with RBI—CFO (2013-2018), chief technology officer and development officer (2018-2019), and COO (2019-2023). The executive played an important role in RBI's acquisitions of Tim Hortons (2014), Popeyes (2017), and Firehouse Subs (2021).
"I am excited to lead the company and work closely with our business Presidents to put our franchisees at the center of our success and accelerate the growth we know our brands are capable of," Kobza said in a statement.
Burger King's U.S. same-store sales grew 5 percent in the fourth quarter, on top of 1.8 percent growth last year. Popeyes lifted 1.5 percent, Firehouse increased 1 percent, and Tim Hortons' Canada markets soared 11 percent.