After an extensive search process, Nick Shepherd, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, named Ian Saunders as president and chief operating officer for T.G.I. Friday’s International and a member of the Carlson Restaurants Worldwide executive team.

In his new role, Saunders will be responsible for all aspects of T.G.I. Friday’s International business, leading the International management team, and continuing to refine and execute an aggressive growth strategy. He comes to Friday’s with extensive global food service experience and a track record of driving and sustaining aggressive business results in the global marketplace.

Prior to joining Friday’s, Ian was with Papa John’s International Inc. where he most recently served as regional vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Prior to Papa John’s, Ian spent six years in general management roles within the UK-based Geest Ltd., a leading manufacturer and distributor of produce and fresh prepared foods to the food service and retail sector, and 15 years in various leadership roles at Yum! Brands, Inc. Ian’s formative years were spent working in the casual dining sector with London-based Grand Metropolitan PLC and Whitbread PLC.

“Adding Ian to our international business and our executive team is a huge win for us,” Shepherd says. “Ian’s extensive global knowledge and innovative thinking, combined with his successful track record of driving and sustaining aggressive business growth in the global marketplace, make him the ideal candidate for this key role in our business.”

Saunders, who received his Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Catering Management from the University of Surrey and his Master of Business Administration from United Kingdom’s Cranfield University, will reside in the United Kingdom. Saunders first day in his new position is March 1.

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