These actions followed the decision of Jack Schuessler, the company’s former chairman and CEO, to retire from Wendy’s after more than 30 years with the organization.
Anderson has served as executive vice president, chief financial officer and a board member since 2000. Pickett has been a Wendy’s director since 1982, has been its lead director and is chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
Schuessler, 55, joined the Wendy’s organization in 1976. He held many leadership positions at the restaurant and field level, was president and chief operating officer of U.S. Operations, and most recently was chairman and CEO. “I am proud to have been part of Wendy’s for three decades and to have worked closely with so many great leaders, including Dave Thomas,” he says.
”Since becoming CEO six years ago, we’ve generated significant value for shareholders and I am very optimistic about the future for both Wendy’s and Tim Hortons,” Schuessler continues. “However, I believe it is the appropriate time to pass the leadership of the brand to the next generation of leaders as they focus on restaurant operations, as well as improved profitability and returns. Kerrii and Jim will be excellent stewards of the business. I wish everyone in the organization all of the best and will be cheering for Wendy’s and Tim Hortons’ future success.”
According to a release put out this morning, Wendy’s International’s board will promptly retain a national firm to conduct a search for a permanent CEO. The company also expects to take steps to further enhance its emphasis on operational excellence and the needs of Wendy’s outstanding franchisees. In separating the roles of CEO and chairman, Wendy’s has also further moved its governance structure toward current best practices.
“Kerrii has demonstrated excellent strategic management in many key areas of the corporation over the past six years,” says Pickett. “She has a passion for the Wendy’s business, is committed to strong relationships with our franchisees, and has the respect and support of Wendy’s management team. Our entire board supports Kerrii in her new role and we look forward to working with her in the coming months.
“The board has established two small working committees to assist management in effecting the changes necessary to make Wendy’s even more vibrant and attractive for customers and franchisees, as well as optimizing shareholder value,” says Pickett.
“The board and the vompany thank Jack for his outstanding service to Wendy’s over a long and distinguished career. Jack was always so positive about the Wendy’s brand and contributed to our long-term success. His legacy is the strong team that he has built and his commitment to the restaurant business and our franchisees. We are pleased to report that Jack has agreed to consult with the company for the next two years.”
Wendy’s strategic initiatives
“Our management team has three key priorities,” said Anderson.
“Strengthen Wendy’s core business – Our primary objectives are improving sales and profits at every Wendy’s restaurant in the system, working with our franchisees and company operators. Consumers rate Wendy’s as a superior brand in many areas, but we must confront reality – the brand has not kept pace with our competitors or the marketplace. The core strength of the Wendy’s brand is running superior restaurants and providing our customers with quality – great tasting, innovative products. Every Wendy’s restaurant reflects that core strength: “Quality Is Our Recipe(R).” While there is no quick fix, we intend to regain positive momentum by improving our restaurant operations, driving sales by launching new, innovative products our customers want, and focusing on more effective marketing.
“Execute strategic initiatives – In late March we completed the initial public offering (IPO) of 17.25% of Tim Hortons(R) and expect to spin off the remainder of the company by December 31, 2006. We are also pursuing strategic alternatives for our Baja Fresh(R) business and have retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. to assist in the process. Executive management and the Board are also focused on the best way to utilize our strong balance sheet and cash position to benefit the Wendy’s system and our shareholders. One of the newly created Board committees will support management in effecting these strategic initiatives.
“Reduce costs throughout the organization – We are making progress on the initial phase of our “Next Chapter” project to reduce costs, improve the Company’s profitability and prepare the organization to operate as a standalone company after the spin-off of Tim Hortons. Booz Allen is working with our management team to validate major cost reduction opportunities and process improvements. I will provide more information about our progress during our Annual Meeting of Shareholders on April 27. Our goal is to create value for our shareholders, employees and our franchisees who have helped build this great brand.”