Industry News | June 28, 2017 | By Danny Klein | QSR Exclusive Brief

Carl's Jr., Hardee's Bolster Executive Team Amid Changes

Jeff Jenkins will focus on reinvigorating creative campaigns at CKE. CKE Restaurants
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CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is in the midst of a brand reimaging that steps away from the racy ads and controversial commercials of recent years. On Wednesday, the quick-service chain announced two strategic appointments and a promotion to its executive leadership team—moves it says will “accelerate the iconic businesses and redefine the [quick-service] category through quality food and value for the customer.”

Jeff Jenkins, who recently worked at Whole Foods Market, where he helped facilitate the company’s digital strategy, was named chief marketing officer. Jenkins is also credited with developing and launching the Cannes Lion mobile ordering app during his time as director of digital experience and new platforms at Taco Bell. At CKE, Jenkins will focus on reinvigorating creative campaigns, CKE says, as well as work directly with franchisees to drive sales and create efficiencies. CKE’s recent advertising campaign, called “Pioneers of the Great American Burger,” were designed to highlights food items and practices that the company believes sets it apart in an increasingly competitive burger segment.

“I’m honored to be joining CKE whose uncompromised food quality and innovative creative work are pillars of the company,” Jenkins says in a statement. “I’m looking forward to being a part of such a well-established organization that has been a leader in the restaurant industry for more than 75 years, and to creating breakthrough campaigns that expand the company’s success across the globe.”

CKE also tabbed Tom Brennan as its next chief operating officer and promoted Chip Seigel to chief legal officer.

Brennan comes from 7-Eleven, where he spent close to 11 years working in a variety roles, including store development, operations, and merchandising. He also clocked time at Target Corporation as part of the company’s financial planning and analysis team, and spent six years on active duty with the U.S. Army’s Armor Corps.

“I’m grateful to join such an iconic organization and inspiring leadership team,” Brennan says in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with the leadership team and franchisees to streamline our processes and grow the business across the board.”

As part of CKE’s new direction, Hardee’s debuted a modernized logo, new food photography for menu boards, billboards, product imagery, and promotions, and new product packaging.

“I’m proud we’ve attracted top talent and am excited to welcome both Jeff and Tom to CKE,” says Jason Marker, CKE CEO. “Both are dynamic leaders with years of valuable food industry experience that will define CKE’s future and position within the marketplace. Customer satisfaction and innovative marketing has always been a hallmark of CKE’s success. Coupled with a strong operational team, these changes will ensure continued transformation of the company and its culture—while still delivering amazing quality food our fans love.”

Marker, the former KFC U.S. president, took over as CEO in April. Andy Puzder, who served as CKE’s CEO since 2000, had recently stepped down. Initially named President Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary, Puzder withdraw his name from consideration before the confirmation hearing.