Inspire Brands announced Wednesday changes to its leadership structure, including new faces atop Sonic, Arby’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings. 

Claudia San Pedro, Sonic’s brand president, is resigning and temporarily stepping away from the workforce to focus on family medical matters, the company said. She spent 16 and a half years at Sonic, including roles as treasurer/vice president of investor relations and CFO. San Pedro became president in January 2018 and guided Sonic to a 30-plus percent increase in AUV. 

“Claudia has been an exceptional leader at Sonic since joining the brand in 2006. In her more than 16 years with the brand, Claudia led finance initiatives and operations, eventually rising to the role of brand president in 2018. Her unmatched leadership ability has helped guide the brand through several challenging economic and operating environments,” Paul Brown, Inspire Brands CEO, said in a statement. “Claudia has been an instrumental part of our success at Inspire, and I hope to have the opportunity to welcome her back to the Inspire family in the future.” 

San Pedro will be replaced by Jim Taylor, who currently serves as Arby’s brand president. He’s worked at the fast-food chain for nearly nine years, starting as head of product development and then moving to CMO. He was promoted to brand president in August 2019. During Taylor’s run at Arby’s, the brand experienced nine straight years of positive same-store sales and recorded the highest AUV in company history. He was also behind multiple award-winning brand activations, like the Wagyu Burger, Diablo Dare, and the introduction of Arby’s venison.

With Taylor jumping to Sonic, Arby’s CMO Rital Patel will move to brand president. She joined Inspire in August 2020 as Buffalo Wild Wings CMO. She transferred to Arby’s in November 2022. According to the company, Patel drove results at Buffalo Wild Wings by “establishing integrated ways of working between marketing, supply chain, and Buffalo Wild Wings franchisees.” She helped the casual-dining chain launch several pieces of menu innovation, like the Wild Burger, Boneless Bar Pizza, Bird Dawgs, and Saucy Chicken. 

Replacing Patel as Arby’s CMO will be Ellen Rose, who’s been with the company for about 10 years in various roles, most recently vice president of strategic growth initiatives. 

As for Buffalo Wild Wings, COO John Bowie has been promoted to brand president. He will continue to oversee franchise operations for the casual-dining chain and its fast-casual spinoff, Buffalo Wild Wings GO. Bowie previously worked as Arby’s COO prior to the formation of Inspire Brands. 

“As Inspire has grown, we have placed a high priority on cultivating talent and developing a strong bench of leaders. This allows us to maintain consistency in talent and culture while bringing a fresh perspective to new teams and roles,” Brown said in a statement. “I look forward to the continued success these leaders and their teams will achieve together.” 

Employee Management, Fast Food, Operations, Story, Arby's, Sonic