Subway has been without a permanent chief executive officer since June 2018, when Suzanne Greco retired. Now, a former Burger King leader is stepping in.
The world’s largest restaurant chain announced Wednesday that John Chidsey, who previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of Burger King Holdings, Inc., is taking the reins during a period of innovation and transition. Chidsey was the company’s CFO before being promoted in April 2006 when Greg Brenneman returned to his private-equity firm, TurnWorks Inc. When Burger King was sold to 3G Capital in 2010, Chidsey began a transition to co-chairman of the board as Bernardo Hees took over. Chidsey stepped down in April 2011.
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Before Burger King, Chidsey was chairman and CEO for two corporate divisions of Cendant Corporation. He led the vehicle services division, which included Avis Rent A Car, Budget Rent A Car Systems, PHH and Wright Express, and the financial service divisions that included Jackson Hewitt Tax Preparation Services and various membership and insurance companies.
Chidsey also held international leadership roles with PepsiCo.
Subway issued a statement on the hiring: “We’re very pleased to have John join our Subway family. His diverse business background and global food and beverage expertise will help us continue the evolution of the Subway brand. He will help drive our commitment to always deliver exception experiences for our guests and continued support for our franchise owners.”
Subway added that Trevor Haynes, who had been serving as interim CEO, will continue with the company as president of North America operations. Haynes joined Subway in 2016 and was its chief business development officer when Greco retired.
“I am honored to be joining such an iconic global brand and I am more excited about the future of Subway,” Chidsey said in a statement. “I look forward to learning from and working with the many constituents who have built this brand.”
Subway is in the midst of a broad refresh program that’s targeting 10,500 U.S. locations by the end of 2020. Subway ended 2018 with 24,798 locations—1,110 fewer than the year before. The chain had 27,103 domestic units at the close of 2015.
Greco joined Subway in 1973 making sandwiches, although she was part of the company ever since the first store. Before CEO, Greco served on Subway’s research and development team for more than 20 years, and was promoted to lead the group as vice president of operations and research and development in 2013.
She led the company since her brother, Fred DeLuca’s, death in 2015. DeLuca founded Subway at the age of 17 in 1965.
Subway has made some key executive changes lately. Carrie Walsh, a former Pizza Hut marketing chief, joined as CMO in October. In addition, Subway named Robin Seward as senior VP of marketing strategy and planning; Aidan Hay as VP of operations, North America; and Bill McCane as VP of global development.
In May, the company promoted Len Van Popering to chief brand and innovation officer. Marie Silloway was named vice president of brand management; Renee Hourigan director of convenience innovation; and Ciaran Duffy senior corporate executive chef.