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Applebee's parent names a new CEO

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The parent of Applebee’s and IHOP has reached outside the restaurant industry for its new CEO: Steve Joyce, the CEO of multibrand franchisor Choice Hotels since 2008.

Joyce will fill the vacancy left at DineEquity by the departure of Julia Stewart earlier this year. He will assume his new duties Sept. 12.

Simultaneous with the announcement of Joyce’s selection, DineEquity noted that its bylaws have been amended to separate the positions of CEO and chairman of the board. The move will require DineEquity’s board to select one of its independent seat holders as chairman. Joyce will serve as a director, as he has for several years.

The longtime member of the lodging industry will inherit a host of problems at DineEquity, particularly within its Applebee’s brand. The company has acknowledged that some franchisees of the casual chain may be in need of financial assistance, and it revealed today that as many as 135 units may have to close.

Applebee’s domestic same-store sales for the second quarter fell 6.2%.

Before joining Choice in 2008, Joyce had worked in the franchise operations of Marriott International. 

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