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Keymer joined Popeyes in June 2004 as president and was promoted to AFC's CEO in September 2005. Since that time, Keymer has been instrumental in re-energizing the Popeyes brand. Some of his many accomplishments while with AFC and Popeyes include assembling an experienced management team, accelerating new restaurant opening growth, strengthening franchisee relations, improving operations throughout the entire Popeyes system, and driving marketing initiatives with food-focused advertising.
"Working on the Popeyes brand with our talented and dedicated employees and franchisees has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life," Keymer says. "Deciding to resign was a very difficult decision, but I am at the point where I wanted to devote more time to personal interests and family considerations in Colorado."
The AFC board of directors has engaged a leading executive search firm to work with the company to find a new chief executive with proven industry leadership.
The company also announced the appointment of Frederick B. Beilstein, former chief financial officer of AFC Enterprises from 2004 to 2005, as the interim CEO effective upon Keymer's departure. Beilstein has been a managing partner of Equicorp Partners, LLC, an Atlanta-based investment and advisory services firm since 2005. Beilstein has remained an active consultant to AFC and the Popeyes brand since his departure. His day-to-day responsibilities will include working with the existing management team to oversee the execution of the company's operations.
AFC also announced the promotion of James W. Lyons, the company's chief development officer, to the newly created position of chief operating officer. Lyons joined the Popeyes management team in July 2004 and has played a key role in improving the company's development pipeline and accelerating new restaurant openings. Lyons has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Prior to joining Popeyes, Lyons held senior executive positions with Burger King Corporation, Domino's Pizza, and Denny's Corporation.