AFC Enterprises Inc., the franchisor and operator of Popeyes restaurants, announced that U.S. chief operating officer Ralph W. Bower has been named president of U.S. at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the world's second-largest chicken chain based on number of units.

In his new role, Bower will be responsible for leading day-to-day U.S. operations for Popeyes restaurants. He will lead the Popeyes U.S. team in delivering strategic initiatives, ramping up quality unit growth, nurturing franchise relationships, and mining strategic insights to drive business decision making.

In making the announcement, CEO Cheryl A. Bachelder said, “Ralph is ideally suited to lead our U.S. Popeyes system. He has done an outstanding job as our U.S. chief operating officer and I am confident that he will bring the same enthusiasm and innovative thinking to his new role as president of U.S. He brings a wealth of strategic and operational experience, a broad skill set and a truly impressive track record of accomplishment. We are very excited to welcome him to his new expanded role and we look forward to the contributions he will make to our future success.”

“Ralph is an excellent example of the quality leadership at Popeyes,” said John Cranor, chairman of AFC Enterprises Board. “He will bring these strong leadership qualities, strategic thinking, and operational excellence to his new role. The Board is confident that Cheryl Bachelder, Ralph Bower, and the entire senior management team will continue to work together to drive Popeyes global business success.”

Bachelder will remain as CEO of AFC Enterprises Inc. and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen focusing on leading the company’s strategic planning to ensure competitive advantage for the long term; building deep leadership capability throughout the company; instilling Popeyes culture; and working as an industry leader to represent the interests of Popeyes’ franchise owners and investors.

Bower became chief operations officer of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in February 2008.

From 2006 to 2008, Bower was the KFC operations leader responsible for more than 1,300 KFC franchised restaurants in the western U.S. Prior to this position, he led KFC company operations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

From 2002 to 2003, Bower directed the guest satisfaction function for KFC. Before joining KFC, Bower was employed by Western Ohio Pizza, a franchisee of Domino’s Pizza, overseeing operations in Dayton, Ohio, and Indianapolis.

Bower began his restaurant career with the second largest Domino’s franchise organization, Team Washington, where he was a regional director. In each of these roles he demonstrated exceptional leadership and performance results in the restaurant industry.

Prior to his restaurant experience, Bower served as an officer in the United States Navy. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters of Business Administration from Emory University.

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