CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. (CKE), company of the brands Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, announced the appointment of Jennifer Tate to the position of chief marketing officer and Mike Lenihan to chief financial officer effective immediately. Tate comes from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, most recently serving as senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Lenihan comes from Yum! Brands, most recently serving as vice president of planning and analysis and treasury. Both bring extensive restaurant experience and have proven performance delivering positive results for iconic brands.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jennifer and Mike to the CKE leadership team and look forward to working alongside them, our teams and our franchise partners to unlock transformation and growth at CKE,” says Max Wetzel, chief executive officer at CKE. “Carl’s and Hardee’s are iconic brands with so much potential and amazing people supporting them. I know Jennifer and Mike are excited, ready to hit the ground running and drive positive results for our organization.”

Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Tate

Jennifer Tate is a proven marketing leader with a track record of success in driving growth and innovation. While at Cracker Barrel, Jennifer Tate successfully led the evolution of the menu and the advertising strategy and put in place a new off premises business plan that led to sustained growth. She also partnered with cross-functional leadership to reinvigorate the brand in the areas of innovation, digital guest experience and data-driven marketing. She spent more than a decade in various leadership roles culminating in EVP and Head of Marketing for Olive Garden at Darden Restaurants where she led the highly successful brand renaissance. Jennifer holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.A. in international affairs from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Southern California.

“I am honored to be named the chief marketing officer of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. These are two iconic brands with a rich history of serving delicious food and creating memorable experiences for their guests. I am excited to work with the team to build on this legacy and create even more excitement for the future,” says Jennifer Tate, chief marketing officer.

Chief Financial Officer Mike Lenihan

Mike Lenihan is a seasoned finance executive with a deep understanding of the restaurant industry. With 20 years of broad experience at Yum!, Mike Lenihan successfully led functions at both the corporate and brand levels. While part of the Yum! corporate team, Mike Lenihan led transformative initiatives that successfully changed the company’s operating model and resulted in significant shareholder value creation. In his Yum! brand roles with KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and others, Lenihan served in strategic planning, distribution management, development, mergers and acquisitions and finance roles. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Miami University in Ohio.

“I believe that CKE Restaurants is a great company with a bright future. I am honored to be a part of it,” says Mike Lenihan, chief financial officer. “CKE Restaurants is well-positioned to capitalize on the growth opportunities and I am excited to work with this talented team to help the company achieve its goals.”

Both Tate and Lenihan will be based in the greater Middle Tennessee area.

Employee Management, Fast Food, News, Carl's Jr., Hardee's