Sonic Corp., parent company and franchisor of the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants, announced the promotions of two executives within the marketing team. Senior vice president James O’Reilly is being promoted from chief marketing officer to chief brand officer, and Todd Smith is being promoted from vice president of marketing to chief marketing officer. The expanded responsibilities of these executives are a reflection of the success they have brought to the Sonic brand during their tenure.
“James O’Reilly and Todd Smith are great leaders in our marketing department, always innovating while possessing a keen understanding of the Sonic customer,” says Clifford Hudson, chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer. “Both of these marketers have contributed a great deal to the success of Sonic Drive-In in the last few years, and we look forward to them continuing to do so in their new, expanded roles.”
Before joining Sonic, O’Reilly accrued more than 20 years of senior-level leadership in consumer driven marketing, brand management and product development, including extensive experience within the quick-service restaurant segment. In his new position as senior vice president and chief brand officer, O’Reilly holds responsibility for overall brand direction and will also oversee the content and implementation of Sonic’s integrated technology initiatives designed to enhance customer engagement. These technological innovations will provide a unique, competitive advantage to Sonic, allowing it to further capitalize on its drive-in service style.
“I’ve been with Sonic for a few years now and feel fortunate to be at a company with so much history combined with such potential; most brands have one or the other, but Sonic’s efforts to continually innovate in and out of the kitchen have led to a strong and thriving business model that I am proud to be a part of,” O’Reilly says.
Todd Smith will fill the chief marketing officer role formerly held by O’Reilly and lead marketing efforts and a tenured marketing team toward continued success. In only two years at Sonic, Smith has exhibited exemplary skills and established a successful track record within the brand and with franchisees while setting the foundation for even more marketing success. In this new position, Smith’s responsibilities will broaden to include overall marketing strategy, field marketing, market research, and product innovation.
“I’m thrilled to be part of the success Sonic has experienced the last two years, and I will continue to contribute to that momentum,” Smith says. “The entire marketing team is committed to strengthening the brand in a thoughtful and engaging way, and we expect the innovation we have coming down the pipeline to deliver.”