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Grace W. Dobson, the company's former chairwoman, who has kept the company focused on it's founding principals for more than 30 years since the death of her husband & company founder Harmon Dobson, will continue to actively serve as chair emeritus.
Former president and CEO Tom Dobson, Harmon Dobson's oldest son, will lead the company from a new perspective as chairman and CEO. Mr. Dobson took over the presidency at Whataburger seven years ago and has been widely credited with resurrecting the company while setting the stage for the company's current expansion.
"We are successful because we have maintained the fundamental principles that my father set forth 50 years ago and that my mother has carried forward. And that is to serve our customers a fresh, made-to-order meal in a family atmosphere at a fair price,'' said Mr. Dobson. "We never set out to be the biggest hamburger chain. We just want to be the best.''
Whataburger senior VP and former COO Tim Taft will transition direct day-to-day operations as president/COO from Mr. Dobson. During his years at Whataburger, Mr. Taft has served as VP marketing, VP of development & franchise services, Sr. VP of growth and development and senior VP & COO.
"My relationship with this company stopped being a job many years ago,'' said Mr. Taft. "It is now an obligation and a responsibility I shoulder with a great sense of pride and humility and that's not to say I'm alone in feeling that way. This company is blessed to have, at all levels, professionals dedicated to preserving what we have been delivered.''
During Mr. Taft's tenure, the company has regained its operations focus, developed new restaurant interiors and exteriors, revamped all forms of communication, aggressively pursued top real estate sites in high profile locations and reestablished strong franchise partner relationships.
Whataburger, founded in Corpus Christi in 1950, operates 560+ stores in eight states and Mexico, with annual sales topping $550 million.