An activist investor looking to change the strategic direction of Buffalo Wild Wings has proposed that industry veterans Scott Bergren and Lee Sanders be added to the casual chain’s board.
Bergren is known for concept development, having served as CEO of Yum Innovation, the division of Yum Brands that hatched such ventures as Super Chix, a riff on KFC, and U.S. Taco Co., a new-age Taco Bell. He has also served as CEO of Yum’s Pizza Hut brand.
Sanders' background is in franchising, having served as president of franchising for TGI Friday’s, and SVP of development and franchising for BWW from 2001 to 2007. He has also been an area developer for the Golden Chick quick-service chain.
Mick McGuire, managing partner of Marcato Capital Management and an investor known to be extremely active in the management of companies in Marcato’s portfolio, also nominated himself for a seat on BWW’s board. Marcato owns about 5.2% of BWW’s stock.
In addition, he nominated Sam Rovit as a fourth director. Rovit is CEO of CTI Foods, a company that develops menu items for chains.
BWW’s board currently has nine seats.
The nominations speak to McGuire’s complaints about BWW. Among his gripes are the brand’s diversification into the startup concepts PizzaRev and R Taco, its slow expansion overseas, the number of stores that the franchisor operates and the lack of traffic-raising innovation.
"For months, we have sought to engage in constructive dialogue with Buffalo Wild Wings to address the company's deficiencies and opportunities for significant value creation,” McGuire said in a statement announcing his nominees. “Unfortunately, the company has been unwilling to explore a serious dialogue in any of these areas, exposing an acute breakdown in good governance and shareholder alignment. If elected, our director nominees will be intensely focused on reinvigorating the Buffalo Wild Wings brand.”
BWW had yet to respond publicly at the time of this post to McGuire’s board nominations.