Church’s Chicken and it’s international sister brands Texas Chicken and Church’s Texas Chicken, recently announced two new appointments to the international leadership team. Seasoned restaurant executive Gregg Gallagher was named Vice President, Americas and Cinthia Nehring-Salm was promoted to Director, International Marketing. Both will report directly to Kevin Corning, EVP International Business.
“We are fortunate to have Gregg and Cinthia take on these new roles and look forward to working with them to grow our business,” says Karen Viera, SVP and Global Chief People Officer for Church’s Chicken. “I have confidence in their leadership and in the tremendous work being done by the collective regional leadership team.”
Backed by more than 15 years of international restaurant executive experience, Gallagher joins Church’s as the new Vice President, Americas. Most recently, Gallagher served as Senior Director, International Business Development at Inspire Brands, leading global development for Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, and Jimmy John’s.
At Inspire Brands, Gallagher drove business growth through exceptional franchisee-client relations, negotiated mutually profitable deals, and excelled in cross-cultural sales. Prior to this, Gallagher spent two years at Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen as Director, International Business Development before being promoted to Head of Latin America and the Caribbean. During that time, Gallagher’s full spectrum coordination of the new market launch brought Popeye’s into Mexico, which included site selection, supply chain, construction management, training and on-site support.
In his new position, Gallagher will leverage his extensive expertise to serve as the leader driving sales through the planning, development, and execution of the Americas international growth strategy.
“Church’s is well-known for its legacy of innovative leadership and I’m honored to join a brand that has such a strong international footprint,” said Gallagher. “I look forward to contributing to the continued growth of the company by expanding its brand presence and building enhanced franchise relationships.”
Nehring-Salm recently served as Regional Marketing Manager for Church’s, where she led the marketing planning and execution for the Americas. In this capacity, she represented 300 restaurants in the largest international region, encompassing Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, Honduras, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Curacao, and Venezuela. Nehring-Salm is a marketer with over 20 years of experience building major multi-national brands. As a brand builder, she has had the opportunity of working in three sides of marketing: Media, Brand, and Consulting which has giving her a unique vision for building brands.
During Nehring-Salm’s more than five years with the brand, the Americas region generated strong and consistent comp sales growth. Her region delivered the strongest comp sales results in 2020, despite the global COVID-19 crisis. Her ability to be nimble and responsive early on with the pandemic, allowed her to generate a steady stream of engaging and well-crafted marketing materials to help the region’s franchisees compete during these challenging times.
As Director, International Marketing, Nehring-Salm will be responsible for the design, coordination and direction of all international marketing initiatives for the development and growth of Church’s Chicken internationally, with special focus on Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East/North Africa. She will work with Regional Field Directors, Regional Field Managers, and Regional Marketing Managers to analyze business trends and forecast sales. She will also be responsible for designing menu boards, creating marketing plans for entry into new countries, and developing annual marketing calendars, as well as a number of other marketing initiatives.
In addition to functionally reporting to Kevin Corning, EVP International Business, Nehring-Salm will link to the Global Marketing organization, led by Brian Gies, EVP and Global Chief Marketing Officer.
“Cinthia’s experience and knowledge will be instrumental as we continue to expand our international business. She has consistently demonstrated her talents in the marketing space and we are very pleased to see her grow with the brand,” Gies said.
Church’s also recently announced the following promotions as they continue to grow their international presence.
Tamer El Sahn, Regional Franchise Director, of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), has been promoted to Senior Director EMEA. In his new leadership role, Tamer will lead growth of the Texas Chicken brand across the EMEA region.
El Sahn joined the brand as Regional Marketing Manager in 2015 and was promoted to Sr. Regional Marketing Manager in 2019 and to Senior Director, Texas Chicken (EMEA) in 2020. He has worked closely with franchisees, assisted in the positive comp sales growth and expansion into new markets. El Sahn was also instrumental in the brand re-launch for Texas Chicken and Church’s Chicken.
El Sahn’s other notable achievements include the development of a 5-year growth strategy for the region; led the in-region roll-out of Texas Chicken Mobile App; successfully opened restaurants in new cities in recent months, e.g., Jeddah, Baghdad, and Karachi; and successfully organized engagement platforms such as the Virtual Summit and Quarterly Newsletter.
Ghassan Freih has been promoted to Sr. Regional Franchise Manager for EMEA. Freih joined the brand in 2018 and supported the increase in the number of training restaurants to nine across the region. He successfully opened stores in Baghdad, Lahore and Karachi. Ghassan’s new role will include Development and Profitability in addition to Operations and Training.
For the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, Albert Chan has been promoted to Senior Director APAC. In his new leadership role, Chan will lead growth of the Texas Chicken brand across the APAC region.
Chan joined the brand in 2016 as Regional Franchise Manager and was promoted to Senior Regional Franchise Manager (APAC) in 2019. He proved to be integral in leading franchise relations in Thailand, the fastest growing market in the world, and in supporting rapid-growth countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam.
Among Chan's significant accomplishments, he served as project leader for the Cambodia market entry and opened the first store in December 2020 with four more stores in the pipeline. He rolled out remote OER and supported the opening of more than 40+ new restaurants in the region throughout 2020.
“Over the past two years, our international market represented the strongest driver of growth,” adds Viera. “It is through our leadership that we have been able to achieve and maintain this trajectory. This new team alignment will allow us to better serve and support our franchise partners in these markets and stay the course to reach our shared goals.”