CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder is taking steps to eliminate any conflicts of interest that might threaten his nomination for the Labor Secretary post in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, The Associated Press is reporting.
Puzder is ridding himself of assets from the fast food company, which includes Hardees and Carl’s Jr., in hopes of being confirmed.
According to the AP, Puzder’s spokesman George Thompson says the process, made complicated by the fact CKE is privately held, is underway, and that Puzder would step down as CEO once confirmed.
"I am fully committed to becoming secretary of labor and I am looking forward to my hearing," Puzder said Wednesday in a statement to The AP.
Puzder has yet to submit the required ethics paperwork. He would need to convey his ability to avoid conflicts of interest before a confirmation hearing is held, which has been postponed indefinitely until he can provide the materials.
Puzder, both an adviser and contributor to Trump’s campaign, has been outspoken about cutting back on government regulations like mandating large minimum wage increases and the Affordable Care Act, which he says created a “government-mandated restaurant recession” through increased labor costs for businesses as well as premiums reducing consumers’ discretionary income.
CKE now owns or franchises more than 3,250 restaurants in the U.S. and 26 other countries, generates $1.3 billion in annual revenue, and, with franchisees, employs more than 70,000 people here stateside.
Earlier, CKE Restaurants issued a statement, saying the organization will continue to grow as planned if Puzder is confirmed for the role.
"CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., congratulates CEO Andy Puzder for his nomination to serve our nation as Secretary of Labor," the statement read. "Mr. Puzder would provide excellent leadership for our nation’s business community and all Americans who work hard each and every day to make a better life for themselves and their families. Andy has led CKE for the past sixteen years and during that time has transformed the company into an internationally prominent and growing business, creating and preserving thousands of jobs in the process. As someone who runs two of the nation’s most popular restaurant franchises, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Andy has distinguished himself as a tireless advocate for economic policies that create jobs and opportunities. Upon Andy’s confirmation, CKE's management team will ensure a seamless and orderly transition, continued corporate growth and a very successful future for the company."
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